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Album: Bigger Than Both Of UsReleased: 1976Charted:
This is the first Hall & Oates single to hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100, and it propelled them to superstardom. The character in this song is based on a real person, the spoiled heir to a fast food fortune who had dated Sara Allen, Daryl Hall's longtime girlfriend. Her stories of him inspired Hall to write this song, but he had to change the character to a girl, since he was the one who would be singing it. Daryl Hall told Rolling Stone in 1985 that the original lyrics were "But you can't write, You're a rich boy." (thanks, Mike - Santa Barbara, CA)
This was Hall & Oates' first American #1 hit.
Daryl Hall was shocked to find out that the infamous serial killer David "Son Of Sam" Berkowitz claimed he was inspired to murder by this song. It is unlikely that this song actually compelled Berkowitz to kill, as it was released after he started his killing spree, and Berkowitz cited many influences, including his neighbor's dog, when asked why he killed. Nonetheless, it was very disturbing for Hall and Oates to have their song associated with Berkowitz, and they made reference to this in their 1980 song "Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear the Voices)" from their Voices album in the lyrics: "Charlie liked The Beatles, Sam he liked Rich Girl."
Scott Edwards, who would later play on many Disco hits of the era, was the bass player on this track. He says that Chris Bond, who produced the Bigger Than Both Of Us
album, was largely responsible for this song's success. "Chris was the one who figured out the production and the projection of it," Edwards told us
. "He was a really good arranger and he wrote out note for note."
The indie-pop duo The Bird and the Bee covered this song for their 2010 album, Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates
. In a 2014 Songfacts interview
, Daryl Hall named this as one of his favorite covers of a Hall & Oates song.
This was featured in the 1980 comedy Cheech and Chong's Next Movie and in the TV drama The Shield in the 2003 episode "Barnstormers."