In the 1970s and early 1980s, Hall scored several Billboard chart hits and is regarded as one of the best soul singers of his generation. Guitarist Robert Fripp, who collaborated with him in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has written, "Daryl's pipes were a wonder. I have never worked with a more able singer." Since late 2007, he has hosted the web television series, Live from Daryl's House, which is now aired on MTV. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Hall was born in Pottstown, a Pennsylvania borough 40 miles (64 km) from Philadelphia. His parents each had a background in music: his father was a professional singer and his mother was a vocal coach. He is of German descent. He started recording while still a student at Owen J. Roberts High School, from which he graduated in 1965. In college at Temple University in Philadelphia, he majored in music, while continuing to record, working with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff as both an artist and a session musician. During his first semester at Temple, in the fall of 1965, he and four other white Temple University students formed the vocal harmony group the Temptones.
They were popular additions to the largely black Philly soul scene, defeating both The Ambassadors and The Delfonics in a contest at the Uptown Theater. The Temptones recorded a handful of singles for Arctic Records, produced by Jimmy Bishop. While performing at the Uptown theatre, Hall formed creative affiliations with such artists as Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and many other top soul singers of the 1960s.
In 1967, he met John Oates, who was also an undergraduate at Temple University. According to Daryl Hall, they met when "We got in the middle of a fight at a dance - I have no idea what the fight was about. I guess the Greek letters on one gang's jackets didn't appeal to the other gang. We both beat it out the back and met on the elevator while leaving the place rather quickly." Hall was by then a senior, while Oates was a freshman. They played together until Oates transferred to a different school at age 19. Daryl did not let Oates's departure discourage him from pursuing his own musical career: he dropped out of college in 1968 and worked with Tim Moore in a short-lived rock band, Gulliver, and released an album on the Elektra Records label. In 1969, Hall again began recording songs by other artists, which led to the duo signing their first record contract in early 1972.
Signed to Atlantic by Ahmet Ertegun and managed by Tommy Mottola in the early 1970s, Hall & Oates have sold more albums than any other duo in music history. Their second album, Abandoned Luncheonette, produced by Arif Mardin and released in 1973, yielded the single, "She's Gone", which went to No. 7 in the U.S. Top 10 on re-release in 1976 after reaching No. 1 on the R&B charts when it was covered by Tavares. The duo recorded one more album with Atlantic, War Babies (produced by Todd Rundgren), before they were dropped and promptly signed to RCA. During their tenure at RCA the duo catapulted to international superstardom.
From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, Hall & Oates scored six U.S. No. 1 singles, including "Rich Girl" (also No. 1 R&B), "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" (also No. 1 R&B), "Maneater" and "Out of Touch" from their six multi-platinum albums - Bigger Than Both of Us, Voices, Private Eyes, H2O, Rock 'n Soul Part 1 and Big Bam Boom - the last five of which were released consecutively. The era also produced an additional six U.S. Top 10 singles, "Sara Smile", "One on One", "Family Man," "You Make My Dreams," "Say It Isn't So" and "Method of Modern Love".
In 1972 Hall & Oates opened for David Bowie, who was doing an American Tour as Ziggy Stardust. Of his relationship with the British rocker, Daryl Hall reminisced “One time I ran into him in Jamaica...we went to the Playboy Club and got drunk while watching a bad reggae band!” Later in 1985 the duo performed at the Philadelphia leg of the seminal 'Live Aid' concert. After playing their set, they then went on to back Mick Jagger & Tina Turner, a highlight of the concert.
The duo released a Christmas album in October 2006 titled Home for Christmas.
The duo were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
In addition to his work with Oates, Hall has made music as a solo artist, as well as recording with Robert Fripp in the late ‘70s, working on Fripp’s critically praised Exposure album from 1979. In 1977 Fripp produced and performed on Hall's debut solo album, the much-acclaimed Sacred Songs. This album was released in 1980.
In 1984, he co-wrote and produced, with Arthur Baker, the single "Swept Away" for Diana Ross, which reached US No. 19, US R & B No. 3 and US Dance/Club Play No. 1.
In 1985, Hall performed two songs in the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois. Hall participated in the We Are the World session as well as closing the Live Aid show in Philadelphia. He also made an album with Dave Stewart that year, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine. He has recorded such solo works as Soul Alone in 1993 and Can't Stop Dreaming in 1996, both of which were received well internationally. In 1994 composed "Gloryland" that was the Original Soundtrack of the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
In 2007, Hall guest starred on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords, playing an MC of a "world music" festival.
On March 12, 2008, Hall played a well-received set with his band at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Hall was slated to sing the National Anthem of the United States before Game 5 of the 2008 World Series at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park but, due to an illness, could not appear, and Oates sang it instead.
In 2009, Hall guest starred on the Independent Film Channel series, Z-Rock (as himself).
In 2010, Hall was back in the studio working on a solo recording with bassist and musical director, T-Bone Wolk. Wolk died of a heart attack on February 28, 2010, hours after completing a session with Hall. Hall released a statement about the death of his bassist of nearly 30 years: “It’s not if I will go on, but how? T-Bone was one of the most sensitive and good human beings that I have ever known.”
On June 11, 2010, Hall shared the stage with electronic duo Chromeo for a special late night set at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Their set consisted of a mix of both Hall & Oates and Chromeo tracks.
On September 27, 2011 he released the album Laughing Down Crying on Verve Records.
On August 12, 2011, UK Electronic duo Nero released their debut album "Welcome Reality", which features guest vocals by Hall on the track "Reaching Out", which also samples Hall & Oates' 80's hit Out of Touch. Reaching Out was released as the sixth single on December 6, 2011.
Hall restores and preserves historic homes in both the United States and England. In 2008, he purchased the 18th century Bray House, in Kittery Point, Maine and is in the process of restoring it. He also has restored a Georgian-style home in London, England, first built in 1740, with direct waterfront access to the River Thames. He purchased two homes located near Hartford, Connecticut – one built in 1771, the other in 1780 – and had them moved to the same property in New York's Dutchess County where they were combined and restored. After having the houses moved, he discovered that both homes, by coincidence, were connected to the same family. Hall has a home in Charleston, South Carolina.
Hall hosted the 2014 television show Daryl's Restoration Over-Hall on the DIY Network, which showed him and a crew working on restoring one of his homes in Connecticut.
Since 2007, Hall has hosted the online show/webcast Live from Daryl's House, which features live music acts in a podcast/videocast first from his home in Millerton, New York, and more recently from his club Daryl's House in Pawling, New York. The webcast has featured appearances by Ceelo Green, The O'Jays, Smokey Robinson, Aaron Neville, KT Tunstall, Joe Walsh, Rob Thomas, Darius Rucker, Eric Hutchinson, Cheap Trick, Aaron Neville, Gym Class Heroes' Travis McCoy, Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger of The Doors and many others, as well as a holiday special featuring Shelby Lynne and songs from the Hall and Oates release Home for Christmas.
In a June 2008 interview with Blues & Soul magazine, Hall said of the webcast, "For me it was sort of an obvious thing. I've been touring my whole adult life really, and, you know, you can't be EVERYWHERE! Nor do I WANT to be everywhere at this point! I only like to spend so much time per year on the road. So I thought 'Why don't I just do something where anyone who wants to see me anywhere in the world CAN?! And, instead of doing the artist/audience performance-type thing, I wanted to deconstruct it and make the audience more of a fly-on-the-wall kind of observer... I mean, what I've always done onstage is very natural. I talk to the audience and it's a very sitting-roomy kind of thing. So I just thought I'd basically bring that to the web."
Hall hosted WGN America's 2010 New Year's Eve coverage as a Live from Daryl's House special. The special featured clips of previous Live from Daryl's House episodes. Steve Dahl, a Chicago radio host, praised the special as the best New Year's Eve special on television for 2010–11, though he criticized the show's lack of a live countdown to midnight.
Hall was married to Bryna Lublin from 1969 to 1972. He converted to Lublin's religion, Judaism, in order to marry her. He has not actively participated in religion since, but has said that he feels more of a connection to Judaism than to his original affiliation, Methodism.
Hall had a nearly 30-year relationship with songwriter Sara Allen (the inspiration for the song "Sara Smile", and a frequent collaborator with Hall & Oates) which ended in 2001 for undisclosed reasons. They were never married. The two have remained friendly, and Allen briefly appears in a May 2016 episode of Live from Daryl's House.
Hall has one biological child named Darren Hall (born January 8, 1984) with Andrea Zabloski from Duluth, Minnesota.
In July 2005, Hall was diagnosed with Lyme disease, causing him to cancel a majority of Hall & Oates' summer tour.
Hall was married to Amanda Aspinall, daughter of British gambling mogul John Aspinall, from 2009 to 2015. Amanda has two children, March and Orson, from a previous relationship; her daughter March sang backing vocals on songs "Save Me," "Message To Ya" and "Eyes For You" on Daryl Hall's 2011 album, Laughing Down Crying.
Hall has written or co-written 11 Billboard Number One songs, "She's Gone" (with John Oates as covered by Tavares), "Rich Girl", "Kiss On My List" (with Janna Allen), "Private Eyes" (with Sara Allen, Janna Allen & Warren Pash), "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" (with John Oates & Sara Allen), "Say It Isn't So", "Maneater" (with John Oates & Sara Allen), "Out of Touch" (with John Oates), "Everytime You Go Away" (which reached #1 when covered by Paul Young) and "Do It For Love" (with John Oates).
Hall also sang lead vocals and has written or co-written eight more popular Billboard songs that also made it to the Top 10, such as: "Adult Education" (with John Oates & Sara Allen), "Sara Smile" (with John Oates - a song that refers to Hall's ex-girlfriend), "Method of Modern Love" (with Janna Allen), "You Make My Dreams" (with John Oates & Sara Allen), "Everything Your Heart Desires", "One on One", "So Close" (with Jon Bon Jovi & Danny Kortchmar) and "Did It in a Minute" (with Sara Allen & Janna Allen). He has also had hits as a vocalist, reaching No. 12 with his 1980 rendition of The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," and No. 6 with 1983's "Family Man," written by Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly.