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The xx Samples A Classic Hall & Oates Song On Their New Single “On Hold”
About “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”
“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” is the second single from Hall & Oates” tenth album “Private Eyes.”
Daryl Hall sketched out the song one evening at a music studio in New York City after a recording session for the Private Eyes album. He began playing a bass line on a Korg organ which sound engineer Neil Kerman recorded.
Hall later came up with a guitar riff which he & John Oates worked on together. The next day, Hall worked with longtime writing partner Sara Allen on the song lyrics. The song was written about the group’s relationship with their record label – how they wouldn’t allow themselves to be pushed around my managers and record labels, but instead stayed true to themselves and their art.
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The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1982. It also topped the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and Hot Soul Singles chart (which was rare for a white music act at time). It was also a top 20 hit in the UK, Canada and Australia.
It also is famous for preventing Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You” to overtake Olivia Newton-John’s mega-hit “Physical” for the #1 spot. After being stuck behind “Physical” for nine weeks, Foreigner spent their 10th and final week at #2 behind Hall & Oates before beginning its decline down the Hot 100.
According to Hall, Michael Jackson was a big fan of the song and admitted to to him that he’d borrowed the groove of this song for his 1983 chart-topper “Billie Jean.”