Rarely does a band suddenly achieve massive global success on their ninth album and nearly a decade into their career, but such was the case with Hall & Oates. Following years of relentless touring and recording under record company tutelage in the 1970s, where they achieved modest success with a string of albums that vacillated between folk, soul, rock, and pop, Daryl Hall and John Oates struck finally struck multi-platinum by taking total control of their recordings. When they embarked on the sessions for their breakthrough 1980 album, Voices, which would begin to more clearly define their vision of blue-eyed soul, they took several bold steps that defied all music industry logic at the time. Not only did they take on producing the album themselves, but they recorded with their longtime touring band instead of seasoned studio vets, and enlisted Daryl Hall's girlfriend and her younger sister as songwriting collaborators. This new approach paid off way beyond their expectations and over the course of the next year, Voices would spawn no less than five hit singles, with two of them ("Kiss on My List" and "Everytime You Go Away") shooting straight up the charts to number one.
With Voices still riding high in the charts, the duo released the follow-up, Private Eyes in September of 1981, further defining their sound and spawning four more top 40 singles, including two more number ones with the title song and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." In the case of the latter song, it became one of the rare songs ever recorded by a white act to hit number one on both the R&B and the pop charts. They also embraced music videos, and with MTV launching literally a month prior to the release of Private Eyes, they soon established a ubiquitous presence that would help launch their careers. By the time 1984 rolled around, Hall and Oates had surpassed the Everly Brothers to become the most successful duo in history with 19 Gold and Platinum awards. After parting ways for a brief time to explore solo careers in the late '80s, they got back together and are still touring and recording to date.