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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back Street Rocks!
In 1977, Daryl and John were riding high on the success of the "Bigger Than Both of Us" album and it's #1 single "Rich Girl" and in August of that year put out "Beauty on A Back Street" which has a much more electric presence than its predecessor. Daryl and John both stated that they didn't like the production of this album (an artist is usually his own biggest critic)...
Published on June 22, 2001 by TomAzon

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a fun misfire
This is the one where the then-rising stars of R&B/pop decided to "rock out," with very mixed results. This one is for Daryl Hall & John Oates complete collectionists only.

Why didn't the "rock" experiment work? They hired a crack band. Daryl Hall's powerful tenor should have been a natural fit for harder-edged rock. The production was polished to 1970s...
Published on August 10, 2008 by R. P. Spretnak


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back Street Rocks!, June 22, 2001
By 
TomAzon (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beauty on a Back Street (Audio CD)
In 1977, Daryl and John were riding high on the success of the "Bigger Than Both of Us" album and it's #1 single "Rich Girl" and in August of that year put out "Beauty on A Back Street" which has a much more electric presence than its predecessor. Daryl and John both stated that they didn't like the production of this album (an artist is usually his own biggest critic) and they never really were until they started producing themselves in 1980 with "Voices".

There are a lot of signature songs here, plenty that would have been hits. The first release "Don't Change" was released as a remix on 7" vinyl (strings were added at the intro) and others like "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart?", "Love Hurts (Love Heals)" "Bigger Than Both of Us" and "You Must Be Good For Something" all defined the sound that differentiates this album from their two prior RCA releases. This album features Tom Scott on saxaphone.

The only criticism I have is that there's not a lot of upbeat John Oates material. I can give or take "The Girl Who Used To Be" and "The Emptyness".

Another song called "How Could You Survive" was also intended for this album. It was listed on the back of the songbook that goes with this. It later appeared on Daryl Hall's "Sacred Songs" album as "Survive".

Add this and "Along The Red Ledge" to your collection and play them back-to-back. You'll wonder why disco lasted as long as it did.

Update: The "Don't Change" remix is now available on Legacy's "Eco-Friendly" album called "The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates"... but be careful, there are two albums with this same title.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Darker and Daring, December 12, 2006
This review is from: Beauty on a Back Street (Audio CD)
The 70s were underway and while everyone was going disco around them - Hall and Oates resolutely marched onwards to their own beat. This is actually a brave album balancing commercial pop with a rawer sound. Experimentation wasn't dead yet. Why I like this album is the mix of edge and soul behind the songs. "Don't Change"; "Why Do Lovers.."; "You Must Be Good For Something" and "The Emptiness" are just some of the most compelling tracks Hall and Oates have recorded. Hall had at this point, enough talent to write any pop ditty he wanted, but caught between the bubblegum pop and rockers of their time - Hall and Oates fit somewhere in between.

It sounds like the duo needed to get some stuff out of their system. I like the abandon of "You Must Be Good for Something" and the soul searching of "Bigger than Both of Us." Not everything on this is imminently listenable, but the tracks that are, definitely stand out.

This may be one of the duo's forgotten albums (unfortunately), but has some of their most memorable tracks. Worth searching out if you need a H & O fix...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Only rock and roll, and I like it, August 4, 2004
This review is from: Beauty on a Back Street (Audio CD)
"Beauty On A Back Street" found Darryl Hall and John Oates veering way far away from the blue eyed soul that gave them their first handful of hits, and it took everyone by surprise. Radio stations shunned it upon release in 1977, and it became one of the very few H&O albums to not produce a Top 40 single. Not like there weren't any contenders here. "Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts" and "Love Hurts/Love Heals" had hooks for days. It also contains one of John Oates' best (and saddest) ballads, "The Girl Who Used To Be." But the focus seemed to be on the fact that a couple of the songs on "Beauty" sounded more like the Rolling Stones or Led Zepplin than what was expected from Hall and Oates!

In particular, the lyrically mythic "Winged Bull" was a direct rip from "Kashmir," right down to the quirky strings and time signature. "You Must Be Good For Something" was Mick Jagger misogynist, and the six minute rocking opus "Bad Habits and Infections" was the hardest song the duo had recorded since the Todd Rundgren experiment (and inexplicably out of print) "War Babies." This wasn't your big sister's blue eyed soul pin-up record, and sales slumped accordingly. As for me, it remains one of my three favorite H&O CDs, and I snatched it up when it was reissued in 1996. If you wonder where that "Rock and Soul" tagline that got applied to Hall and Oates' career came from, this is an overlooked album to check out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hall & Oates rock on this one!, December 18, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Beauty on a Back Street (Audio CD)
More Rock and less "Blue-Eyed Soul" than other H&O albums, but very enjoyable. I recommend this to anyone who likes H&O, or '70's rock in general.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unheralded Hall & Oates 1977 Release That Was Very Prophetic For Their Future, May 1, 2013
Daryl Hall and John Oates had always been very serious about soul. It ran so far beyond nostalgia to them that Daryl actually attempted to sign up to PIR at the very beginning of his musical career. The pairs first two RCA albums Daryl Hall & John Oates and Bigger Than Both of Us were both straight up soul/funk releases that were very orchestrated and lushly melodic in the 70's Philly soul tradition. By the time of this album,the turned to producer Christopher Bond,as well as bass player Lee Sklar and drummer Jeff Porcoro-who introduced electronic drums into their sound. With 1977 being a year zero of sorts with the emergence of the opposing punk and progressive rock sounds into the music world out of Britain, Daryl and John decided to explore the possibilities of their music in a mildly broader way than they had previously on this third of their RCA releases.

"Don't Change" and "You Must Be Good For Something" are very different kinds of songs for Hall & Oates at this point. Both are very slow grinding,bluesy style guitar rockers with some round,revved up soloing and lyrics that have a much sassier ans streetwise tone about them than the usually reflective romanticism they are better known for offering up. "Why Do Lover's Break Each Other's Hearts?" has a brill building/doo-wop flavor common in a good deal of the so called "soft rock" of that era-with some powerful vocal harmonies of course. John gives a powerfully melodic tour de force on the rather Billy Joel-like piano based power ballad of "The Emptyness". "Bad Habits And Infections" fuses together a juxtaposition of a heavy arena rocker with a bouncy piano break-reflective of the influence of their one time producer and fellow Philly native Todd Rundgren. "Bigger Than Both Of Us" presents a leaner,meaner keyboard/bass/drum centered soul/funk sound. "Winged Bull" and "The Girl That Used To Be" are very progressive influenced ballads with some very strong psychedelic type melodic influences.

At the time this album doesn't appear to have been a big commercial dynamo. It didn't chart any major singles and is often forgotten by a lot of people familiar mainly with H&O's huge hits from before and after this. I've heard about this album in album review literature for years. And upon hearing it, I am very happy to say that (although its three albums before the 80's would arrive) this recording lays the groundwork for a musical approach quite similar to their commercially triumphant Voices album. Basically its a very similar musical conceptualization in that it looks to innovate new popular sounds from newer forms of music in the rock idiom. Forms that were somewhat unknown and even a little bit subversive in their day. And who knows. Some of the punk and progressive rock bands that later turned to soul and funk as an influence may have actually garnered inspiration from this album on the best ways to fuse the "soft and hard" elements of the music's together and Daryl and John so here. So while this may not have been a commercial blockbuster, I have this feeling it is one of the duo's most creatively influential albums and had (and will continue to) stand the test of time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Next to Abandoned Luncheonette (5 stars), this is their best, March 14, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Beauty on a Back Street (Audio CD)
Even though sales of this were dismal when it was relaesed all those years ago, it remains for me a very solid rock and roll album that is very enjoyable to this day.. This was a time when every Hall and Oates album sounded different from the one before, and they were searching for a "sound" that worked and sold. They found that a few years after this release. Daryl Hall's vocals have an angry edge to them here that I find a lot more fun to listen to than his crooning and pleading on later albums. One of those fogotten gems!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beauty anywhere, July 29, 2002
By 
Justin R. Juelich "jjuelich" (BALDWIN, WISCONSIN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beauty on a Back Street (Audio CD)
"WHY DO LOVERS BREAK EACH OTHERS HEARTS?" Why-N-L doesn't SOMEBODY put this great song on one of the GREATEST HITS packages? This song was being played on every FM station around, and would of been huge if one of the "boy wonder" producers would of pulled his head out of the labels arse and promoted it,and the album. Of course it didn't help that H&O dismissed it because they weren't crazy about the production, but the album was unlike anything else-it wasn't "chock fulla' hits." Still, it was a nice change for H&O, and, I think there were several songs that could of been hits. Having Tom Scott on board, I thought, was a big plussoposi. All said, this may not be H&O's best release, (that would be "ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE" in my opinion.), but it's still worth your money and time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About This Hard To Find Album, September 24, 2006
This review is from: Beauty on a Back Street (Audio CD)
I must admit, when I first heard Beauty on a Backstreet, my first reaction was: "No wonder it's out of print." The Girl Who Use To Be and The Emptiness seem lackluster for what I had come to expect out of John Oates. Love Hurts and especially Bad Habbits almost sound silly. So I wasn't surprised when I read this is the one album the Duo wasn't happy with. That said, here are the albums strong points. This is the most underrepresented album you'll find on any greatest hits album, no matter how complete. And, there are at least four good songs, you are unlikely to find anywhere else. The opening song Don't Change is excellent despite it's harder edge feel for the time. Why Do Lovers [which was released as a single that never charted] is also excellent and comes closest to their roots despite the first time hearing thinking, "isn't that the bass piano part in Chopsticks?" Bigger Than Both of Us, a more subtle relationship song, is the title of their previous album. My guess is it was left off the album of the same title. Despite how many reviewers have criticized Winged Bull, it is my favorite track of the album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars but its great., July 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beauty On A Back Street (MP3 Music)
This is probably their least popular albums, other than war babies, but its great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars On Their Way..?, June 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beauty On A Back Street (MP3 Music)
Daryl Hall and John Oates were well on their way to success long before Beauty on a Backstreet was released. Those of us who became hooked after hearing Abandoned Luncheonette for the first time can testify... they've always had "it". (Whatever, as they say in the business, "it" is.) But, Beauty on a Backstreet (along with Daryl and John's previous release, Along the Red Ledge) represented a major turning point for Hall & Oates, as they once purported to dislike being called. The album had an even heavier edge than ATRL did, but the clarity of their music on this record and the exceptional mix of creativity and sometimes inticracy, makes Beauty on a Backstreet a "must own". (Long time fans already own it, don't you worry about that.) At the time, BOAB was far and away Daryl Hall and John Oates' best album. And we fans knew that even better stuff was on the way. It was an exciting time for the boys. Things were just starting to pop for them. Although no real big hit came off of Beauty on a Backstreet, every single song on this record could have been one. Therefore, this record, in my opinion, is "The Very Best Of Hall & Oates".
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Beauty On A Back Street
Beauty On A Back Street by Daryl Hall & John Oates
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