One of the music world‘s most legendary partnerships is facing off in a Nashville courthouse.
Daryl Hall and John Oates, whose hits like “Rich Girl” and “Maneater” defined a generation, are embroiled in a legal struggle over Oates’ decision to sell his share in Whole Oats Enterprises LLP, per unsealed court documents reported by The New York Times.
Image Credit: Steve Thorne | Getty Images. Daryl Hall, left; John Oates, right.
Hall and Oates, who rose to stardom in the 1970s and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, named the LLP “Whole Oats” in homage to their original group name and first album. The entity managed various trademark, social media and website assets.
Hall is claiming Oates attempted to sell his stake in the venture to Primary Wave Music, a New York company with a focus on marketing estates and song catalogs. Hall’s legal representatives sought to stop Oates from advancing any sale, and on November 30, a judge agreed to block the deal until an arbitrator settles the dispute, or until February 17.
“I am deeply troubled by the deterioration of my relationship with, and trust in, John Oates,” Hall wrote in a court filing, referring to the feud as the “ultimate partnership betrayal.”
Oates’s lawyer, Tim Warnock, defended his client’s actions, contending that he proceeded within his rights.
Some of the Hall and Oates’ catalog is already tied up with Primary Wave. The company previously acquired interests from the songwriters Sara and Janna Allen, integral to some of Hall & Oates’s most significant works.
Primary Wave, which has acquired some of the biggest catalogs in music — from Kurt Cobain’s to Bob Marley‘s, Whitney Houston’s and more — forged a $2 billion partnership with Brookfield Asset Management (with CAA as a strategic partner) to invest in even more catalogs last year, Variety reported.
Although lawsuits and separations are common in the music industry, this one stands out in light of Hall and Oates’ long-standing mutual career and legacy, which appeared solid until now, though the two set out on separate performance schedules earlier this year.