After high school, Oates attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where he met fellow musician and classmate Darryl Hall. The two played with several college bands before forming Hall & Oates and signing with Atlantic in 1972.
Hall & Oates released their debut album in 1972, Whole Oates, followed by 1974's War Babies. In 1976, they moved to New York, where they signed with RCA and produced such popular singles as "Sara Smile" and "Rich Girl." With these hits and the follow-up album Bigger Than the Both of Us, the band's sound evolved to pop-rock, and Hall & Oates was more successful than ever.
After heading back to the studio for a few years, Hall & Oates reemerged with a heavier rock sound in 1980's Voices. They continued to release chart-toppers throughout the early '80s, including Private Eyes, H20 and Big Bam Boom. Hall & Oates received the American Music Award for favorite pop group before disbanding in 1985 to pursue solo careers.
Hall & Oates reunited in 1988, and though they have produced a few albums, they've kept a relatively low profile compared to the enormous stardom of the previous two decades.