John Oates reflects on his first marriage, losing all of his money and shaving his mustache in a new memoir

By Sam Gillette
March 13, 2017 01:36 PM
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Credit: Dana Nalbandian/WireImage

John Oates, half of the soulful hit-making duo Hall & Oates, lost many precious things in the ’80s and ’90s.

In his upcoming memoir Change of Seasons, the “Private Eyes” singer reveals that in 1987 his accountant blindsided him with devastating news: after selling 80 million records, Oates was broke.

“I just wish they’d warned us that the high life we were living would have financial consequences,” he writes of his ex-manager Tommy Mottola and lawyer Allen Grubman. “We weren’t cheated; we were seduced.”

In a striking transition, Oates claims that he went from being the owner of four homes, numerous antique cars, and a plane—to having $50 in his wallet. Fortunately, the duo gained some financial stability after they recovered millions of dollars in royalties they were owed.

Oates admits to other missteps in that era, including is treatment of his first wife, Nancy Hunter, a Ford model.

“I should never have been married in the ’80s,” he writes. “She was a successful model and I was running around the world like I was single.”

Credit: St. Martin's Press

At the turn of the decade, the musician made a change that was almost as drastic as is financial loss: he shaved off his trademark mustache. As he writes in Change of Seasons, losing the facial hair was Oates’ way of beginning a new chapter in his life.

“No one will ever understand how much that mustache affected my life,” he writes. “It was so much a part of who I had become.”

But Change of Seasons is more than a look into Oates’ career and how he overcame “personal challenges” (as he explained to EW). In addition to the book, he will release a set of songs that mirror stories in Change of Seasons, as well as a live version of Hall & Oates’ 1982 smash, “Maneater.”

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“I wanted to include my personal interpretations on some of the important music and artists that influenced me before I began to work with Daryl Hall,” he told EW. “There’s a lot people don’t know about my musical roots from childhood. I wanted to create a kind of companion/soundtrack to the book. I really want this to be a unique experience for readers, something that goes beyond just the printed page.”

Change of Seasons hits bookshelves on March 28.