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.
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.
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.
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.)