I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)

hall and oates

I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)‘ is a 1981 song recorded by Daryl Hall and John Oates. It was the fourth number-one hit single of their career and second hit single from their album ‘Private Eyes.’ It features Charles DeChant on saxello. Daryl Hall sketched out the basic song one evening at a music studio in New York City in 1981 after a recording session for the ‘Private Eyes’ album. Hall began to play a bass line on a Korg organ, and sound engineer Neil Kernon recorded the result. Hall then came up with a guitar riff, which he and Oates worked on together. The next day, Hall and Sara Allen worked on the lyrics.

Thanks to heavy airplay on urban contemporary radio stations, it topped the U.S. R&B chart, a rare feat for a non-African American act. According to the Hall and Oates biography, Hall, upon learning that it had gone to number one wrote in his diary, ‘I’m the head soul brother in the U.S. Where to now?’ Also according to Hall, during the recording of ‘We Are the World,’ Jackson approached him and admitted to lifting the bass line for ‘Billie Jean’ from ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).’ Hall says that he told Jackson that he had lifted the bass line from another song himself, and that it was ‘something we all do.’

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