Daryl Hall & John Oates

Sara Smile

Composed by Daryl Hall / John Oates

Song Review by

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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Daryl Hall & John Oates 1975 Buddha Records 3:07
No Image 1976
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Livetime 1978 BMG
No Image 1984 RCA/Columbia
Sounds of the Seventies: 1976 1989
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:12
Soulful Sounds 1992 RCA 3:07
Class Reunion: The Greatest Hits of 1976 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records
Do You Love Me?: All-Time Best Love Songs 1996
Various Artists
BMG 3:10
Rock On 1976: Summer 1996
Various Artists
Madacy 3:09
AM Gold: 1976 1996
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:11
Mellow Rock Hits of the '70s: Ventura Highway 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
70's Greatest Rock Hits, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Priority Records / Priority 3:10
Starting All over Again: The Best of Hall and Oates 1997 BMG/RCA 3:07
Number Ones: Lovin' Feelings 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 3:08
70's Hits Back Again 1998
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:07
Time in a Bottle 1998
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 3:08
Back to Back 1998 K-Tel Distribution 3:05
Looking Back: The Best of Hall & Oates 1998 BMG / Alex / BMG International 3:07
Soft Rock Classics [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:06
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Rhino
Soft Rock Classics [Rhino Box] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
Collection [DJ Specialist] 1998 DJ Specialist 3:08
Lava Love 1999
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:07
Time in a Bottle: Mellow Rock Classics 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 3:08
Best of Times 1999 MVP Records 3:09
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings
Pure Love 2000
Various Artists
UTV / Polygram 3:08
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1976 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:07
Ridin' Low: Slow Jammin' 2000
Various Artists
The Right Stuff 3:09
Blue Eyed Soul [Mars] 2000
Various Artists
Mars 3:09
70's Jewels 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:06
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:11
The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates 2001 Sony Legacy / RCA / Legacy
The Ballads Collection 2001 RCA Special Products / Sbme Special Mkts.
The Essential Collection 2001 RCA
The Hall & Oates Collection 2001 BMG / BMG International 3:09
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1975-1979 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:07
Greatest Hits Live 2001 RCA 6:08
A Year in Your Life: 1976, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 3:07
The Complete Best 2002 BMG 3:10
Legendary 2002 DJ Specialist 3:11
VH1 Behind the Music: The Daryl Hall and John Oates Collection 2002 BMG / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment
Love Songs 2003 BMG International 3:08
Live in Concert 2003 U-Watch / Doyle Kos DK.E
Singers and Songwriters: Diary 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Ultimate Daryl Hall + John Oates 2004 BMG Heritage 3:09
No Image 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 3:06
No Image 2004 BMG International
Extended Versions 2004 BMG Special Products 7:37
Straight from the Heart [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 3:09
The Best of the 70s, Disc 1 [BMG] 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 3:06
The Essential Daryl Hall & John Oates 2005 Legacy / Sony Legacy 3:09
Ultimate 16: Lite FM Best Of 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:08
WJJZ 106.1: Smooth Jazz Sampler, Vol. 12 2005
Various Artists
WJJZ Records 3:10
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:10
No Image 2006 Sony Music Distribution 3:09
Gold: Soft Rock 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:09
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:10
The Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol. 3 [F.I.M.] 2007
Various Artists
WNUA 3:10
95.5 WPLJ: Scott and Todd's Studio Sessions 2008
Various Artists
Fusion / Fusion Innovative Marketing 3:23
Playlist: The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates 2008 Sony Music
The Singles 2008 Camden / Camden International 3:08
InstantLive: Live at the Mirage - Las Vegas, NV 2008 Instant Live (Ryko) 5:51
Top of the Pop Hits, Vol. 1: The 70's 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 3:06
Live at the Montreal Forum [DVD] 2009 Immortal 5:59
Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates 2009 Sony Music
Triple Feature 2009 Sony BMG / Sony CMG 3:07
Get Ready – The Next Food Network Star: Season 6 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music Entertainment
Singers & Songwriters: 1976-1977 2010
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:11
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:11
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / EMI TV / Source Interlink / Virgin 3:08
Live in Dublin 2015 Eagle Rock 7:34
Love Songs [Sony Music]
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:02
Pure... Singer Songwriters
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:07
Sara Smile Mastertone Multimedia Ltd.
No Image
Various Artists
Collectables 3:06
blue highlight denotes editor's pick