In early 1981 Hall & Oates had their first #1 hit in the US titled "Kiss On My List" while the band was working on their next album "Private Eyes" in New York. The song was written by Janna Allen, sister of Hall's longtime girlfriend Sara Allen (and songwriter for Hall & Oates). The intention for Janna was to start a music career by herself and she was supposed to record the song. Hall recorded a demo as a reference for her but she insisted that they recorded the song themselves. She worked as a receptionist at the time of the release of "Kiss On My List" and the first single for the next album "Private Eyes" also titled "Private Eyes".

Kiss On My List - single cover

After this success it was necessary to continue this style on the new album to maintain their hit status. The following single "Private Eyes" followed the same pattern as "Kiss On My List" and again reached #1 in the US. Just like the second single from the album "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) managed to reach #1 also, #8 in the UK and #13 in the Netherlands. I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) has been sampled by many people from Heavy D, to De La Soul, to Simply Red. When a song gets recycled as often as this one has, it's normally an indicator of how good it is.

I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) - single cover

"Did It In A Minute" reached #9 in the US. "Looking for a Good Sign" was dedicated to the original lineup of The Temptations, a major influence on Hall and Oates. Other great songs are "Unguarded Minute" and "Head Above Water". Your Imagination" is the last single from the album with lesser succes on the charts but is also a great song. 

Did It In A Minute - single cover

The album is their best album from the 80's. The result of this album was that Hall & Oates were bigger than the'd ever been before. They were at the peak of their career. Their previous album “Voices” helped lay down the foundation for “Private Eyes” and the result is a sharper, more refined record. The album reached #5 in the US, #8 in the UK and #13 in the Netherlands.

Promo poster for "Private Eyes"
Janna (left) and Sara (right) Allen

Janna Allen co-wrote the singles "Private Eyes" and "Did It In A Minute". Sara Allen was co-writer an almost all songs on the album. Janna Allen also wrote songs with artists like Cheap Trick, Peter Wolf and Joan Jett. Janna died of leukemia at the age of 36 in 1993.

Original album cover
Private Eyes (1981)
Private Eyes / Looking for a Good Sign / I Can't Go for That (No Can Do) / Mano a Mano / Did It in a Minute / Head Above Water / Tell Me What You Want / Friday Let Me Down / Unguarded Minute / Your Imagination / Some Men

I Can't Go For That
Kiss On My List
Unguarded Minute