After 3 years of experimenting with rock, folk and soul stylings, Hall & Oates finally hit pop-chart paydirt with “Sara Smile,” an excellent blue-eyed soul song that harkened back to the duo’s roots in doo-wop and soul music. The lyrics were inspired by Hall’s feelings for Sara Allen, a friend and frequent lyrical collaborator who became his longtime girlfriend. As a result, the narrative plays out in the form of an elegant, first-person love letter: “And when you feel cold, I’ll warm you/And when you feel you can’t go on, I’ll come hold and you/It’s you and me forever/Sara Smile.” The melody is every bit as elegant as the lyrics, building from languid, gently yearning verse melodies into a bridge that spirals to an falsetto peak before giving way to a silky yet swinging chorus. Hall & Oates bring out the beauty of this tune on their recording of “Sara Smile” by building it on a gently pulsing groove accented by smooth electric piano and wrapping it in an elegant string arrangement reminiscent of the best Philly Soul hits. The icing on the cake is the duo’s vocals: rich tenor harmonies are used as a backdrop for Hall’s mesmerzing lead, which moves from a smoky baritone croon to a dizzying falsetto with disarming ease. All these touches made “Sara Smile” a dazzling, radio-friendly ballad and it became a top-five hit as a result.