Hall And Oates: Westport Went For That

Most people, upon hearing that Hall and Oates will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April, think “She’s Gone.” “Rich Girl.” “Private Eyes.”

Westporters of a certain age think, “#$%^&*!

The duo — who for some reason were wildly popular from the late 1970s through the mid-’80s — are part of the lore of Westport concerts.

There is only one difference between Hall and Oates and the  Doors, Cream, Yardbirds and many others (besides talent).

Hall and Oates never actually played in Westport.

It was perhaps our town’s greatest hoax.

Hall and Oates, back in the day.

Hall and Oates, back in the day.

According to the Norwalk Hour of July 10, 1985, “The surprise the town’s 150th Birthday Committee had planned for Sunday’s celebration at the Inn at Longshore was apparently on the committee itself.”

First Selectman Bill Seiden’s office said that “a person claiming to represent the rock group Hall and Oates was an impostor.”

The paper said, “Almost 4,000 people crowded Longshore Park on Sunday, many in anticipation of the pop stars performing at the town’s birthday party. Tickets were $20 per person.”

Someone “purporting to be a legitimate representative of Hall and Oates” had contacted the Birthday Committee and “offered the services of sound, stage and lighting equipment for the birthday party.”

There was one stipulation: no media publicity.

Ahem.

The Inn at Longshore would have been a great spot for a Hall and Oates concert.

The Inn at Longshore would have been a great spot for a Hall and Oates concert.

On the big day, committee members fielded several phone calls, saying the van carrying equipment had broken down on I-95 in New York State. However, the group would still make the gig.

There had been no written contract. “It was all verbal and it was all done in very good faith,” said Al Binford, administrative assistant for public information.

Double ahem.

Westporters waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Eventually, Staples student Cary Pierce’s band played. Then everyone went home. Hall and Oates-less.

No legal action was planned, the Hour said. $10 refunds were offered to those people “with tickets in hand.”

Hall and Oates never made it to Westport. But now they’re in a better place: Cleveland. At least, for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Anyway, if you were one of those who sat at Longshore waiting for hours for Hall and Oates to appear — or even if you weren’t — here’s what you didn’t see:

(If your browser does not take you directly to YouTube, click here.)

21 responses to “Hall And Oates: Westport Went For That

  1. Cindy Habighorst

    Though officially not in Westport anymore( lived there Feb. 1985- July 2013), we were at that concert at Longshore! I remember being angry at Hall and Oates for not showing up!!! I never knew the real story! Thanks for clearing that up! Those were the days! Cindy

  2. We were there. The story was that it was a secret so that only those Westporters “in the know” would be there. If word got out, the place would be mobbed with out of towners. It was a blast! EVERYBODY was there and rumors were rampant.
    Those were the days, my friend…

    • Loretta Hallock

      I was working at Town Hall at the time and we were camped out in the auditorium all day refunding $20. The lines were out the door. I’m pretty sure it was $20. I remember thinking at the time that I’m not sure I would wait in those long lines for $20.

  3. I was there as were loads of Westporters. The teenagers in town had been saying for days there would be no show and they were right. When asked how they knew they said there had been no big trucks with sound equipment rolling into town.

  4. The followup story in the Westport News said that the housekeeper of one of the members of the Entertainment Committee said that she knew Hall and Oates and that she would make all the arrangements. I guess we were pretty naive in those days.

  5. Now this is an 06880 funny! Love these guys so obviously my love for H&O dates me — I spend my youth in Westport and Phila. These guys have Philly roots so they were big in my view. I still watch Darly’s House — great show with some stellar guest performers.

  6. Dateline, July 10, 1985…”One of these days we’ll all look back at this hoax an laugh”. 1/6/2014…. “Ha, ha, ha”!

  7. As a young Westport cop I was detailed to I-95 to escort the band/trucks to Longshore. Eventually I was called back to escort various town officials out of Longshore. Everybody in the beach area (including my family) had walked in. Tom Feeley is correct, it is pretty funny.

  8. Where exactly at Lomgshore were they planning to stage a concert that could hold 4,000? PS–the entertainment committee back then should have hired Dick Sandhaus.

    • Fred, It was to be on what is now the driving range in back of the golf shack. Those were indeed halcyon days, after all, we Westporters were the only people in Connecticut who could proudly claim….”My town’s First Selectman’s uncle is one of the Three Stooges (Moe Howard)!”

  9. Judi Simonetti

    I was there too! I remember Selective Eye sold t-shirts that said “Haulin’ Oats in Westport” and there was a picture of a guy hauling oats. I was just thinking about this morning when I heard Hall & Oates on the radio this morning! You know you are a Westporter if you waited for Hall & Oates at Longshore ;))) GREAT STORY!!

  10. Let’s remember the rest of the 150th Birthday celebration. There were parades, and music, and lots of history. One moment to remember is First Selectman Bill Seiden riding down Main Street on the back of an elephant..I
    don’t remember who followed behind carrying the shovel and a bucket.

  11. Chip Stephens

    I remember the story about the housekeeper and how she kinda left her job after that not wanting to deal with her “misdirection” I also remember the NYC rock stations announcing the “secret concert” on the day it was to occur so many “out of towners” flocked to the event only to see a flock of seagulls (sic)
    Does anyone else remember the secret scavenger hunt for the celebration that was compromised, with the booty being found way too soon for the clues that were openly available. ? (in the small cemetery on the exit to Longshore)
    CRAZY DAZE

  12. I too, always think: “Haulin’ Oats” when I hear them on the radio. Those t-shirts were classic.

  13. Whoever booked this (obviously) didn’t know much about booking an act. If you don’t know who you’re dealing with (the “reps,”) you check their credentials, see who’s listed as the agent and so on. Hoaxes like this are perpetuated because no one makes one or two phone calls to verify that one is dealing with the proper people.

  14. Gary Abshire

    Very interesting!

  15. Mark Dickinson

    I was there, and I’d probably go again! 🙂

  16. Rain Burroughs

    I was a banquet manager at Longshore at the time, and the “housekeeper” was the nanny for the Taggert’s children. The Taggert’s rented and ran the club when I worked there. The woman claimed she used to be a roadie for the band and would do this special favor for her. Believe she was referred for the mental help she needed. The phone calls between the Taggerts and the nanny went on for hours. When we started worrying about not having sufficient outdoor lighting as the band was running late “accident on 95” we were told not to worry about it because they were bringing their own lighting.

  17. I guess the real H&O were Out of Touch.