Barry Rudolph, original tracking and
mixdown engineer of the "Silver Album" writes about his work with Hall &
Oates. He did all engineering except for the string recording which Armin Steiner
engineered. Barry and the producer mixed the entire record together as well.
Please visit his homepage:
One of my first "concept"
album projects, the "Silver Album" entitled "Daryl Hall and John
Oates" was both a social and studio experiment. Producer, arranger, guitar-player
Christopher Bond grew up with and played in Daryl and John's band in Philadelphia. I had
been working with Chris doing song publishing demos for him when he was signed to 20th
Century Music Publishing. Chris told me that Daryl and John wanted to do a new record but
they had no band (at least nobody they wanted on their record). Chris utilized a studio
band for this album and arranged and wrote all the music out for the players. Daryl and
John also played on the tracking sessions; imparting their own artistry to what could have
turned out to be a sterile recording situation. Both Daryl and Chris had lots of studio
session experience as they both played on numerous Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff sessions in
Vocals with Daryl and John were great
fun because they knew exactly what they wanted, where to do it and most importantly, how
to do it. John once told me that he wanted a tall music stand to hide behind while he sang
on a song called "Gino" The song is about their manager at the time, Tommy
Mottola. He said he did not want anybody seeing his face while he sang because he was
going to make hideous expressions that would make everyone laugh and disturb the whole
atmosphere and feeling of the song. Daryl sang the lead vocal on "Sara Smile"
live with the band when it was tracked. We fixed only one word; the word "Sara"
at the beginning of the second chorus. The backing vocals were sung in 30 minutes and
Daryl said he wanted them to sound like the Dells when it was mixed.
His work with Christopher Bond and Hall & Oates
I met Chris Bond when I was a staff
engineer working at Larrabee Sound Studios in West
Hollywood, CA. Chris was a songwriter for 20th Century Publishing in Hollywood and 20th
often used Larrabee's Studio B for recording song publishing demos. Chris would arrive at
the studio in a limo (well...I "was" impressed) complete with his guitars and
equipment to record a DEMO. He was from New York by way of Philadelphia and didn't yet
have a driver's license. Anyway Chris and I would spend much too much time recording very
elaborate demos for his songs; always pushing the engineering envelope which I loved. We
would stay up long hours working on obscure and subtle details of an effect or sound
treatment. As Chris was making his mark as a songwriter, getting his songs recorded by
outside artists, he was also getting his production and arranging skills honed. As a
matter of fact, (which I didn't know until much later on) Chris had already proved himself
as a producer and arranger under the tutelage of Arif Mardin; when they worked together on
the critically acclaimed Daryl Hall and John Oates' "Abandoned Luncheonette"
album. Chris had been in Hall and Oates' band for a long time and I think he was moving on
after they decided to do their next album with Philly acquaintance Todd Rundgren. (that
became another critically acclaimed album called "War Babies"). Chris wanted to
expand his producer career in his own direction.
day while Chris and I were recording, he received a call from then Hall and Oates'
manager, Tommy Mottola. He told me that he guessed they wanted to get back together again
and record a new album. Chris, while in LA, had become a studio guitarist of some note,
insisting they come to California and use session players to record the album rather than
Daryl and John's backup band. After some inital resistance, album tracking started at
Larrabee, Studio A with yours truly flying the plane. The album was "Daryl Hall and
John Oates". We always called it the "Silver Album" because the cover was
silver colored with the guys dressed in Euro-drag, effeminate makeup. The hit single was
"Sara Smile" which none of us ever thought could or would be a single.
Absolutely No Idea! "Sara" was a really cool ballad with Daryl and John singing
all the backing vocals in a half hour. Anyway, after that album, Chris, Daryl, John and I
parted professional ways (management wanted to pay less than before and wanted me to fly
to NY for the next album). Separated from H&O, Chris and I subsequently worked
together on many other projects and we remain close friends.