Daryl Hall & John Oates

Sara Smile

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
No Image 1983 Sony Music 3:10
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
Precious Metal 1995
Various Artists
Temple 3:08
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 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 Daryl Hall + John Oates 1998 BMG 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
AM Gold: Radio Gems 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time / Life Music 3:11
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 / Capitol 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 RCA 3:10
The Ballads Collection 2001 RCA 3:09
The Essential Collection 2001 RCA / BMG
The Hall & Oates Collection 2001 BMG / BMG International 3:09
Ecstasy on the Edge 2001 Pilot 5:57
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1975-1979 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:07
A Year in Your Life: 1976, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 3:07
The Complete Best 2002 BMG 3:10
Legendary 2002 BMG 3:11
Love Songs 2003 BMG International 3:08
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
Straight from the Heart [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 3:09
The Essential Daryl Hall & John Oates 2005 BMG Heritage / RCA 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 BMG 3:10
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:09
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:10
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:10
Collections 2006 Sony Music Distribution 3:09
The Seventies: Soft 70's Gold, Vol. 1 2007
Various Artists
American Beat Records 3:06
Gold: Soft Rock 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:09
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
The Singles 2008 Camden / Camden International 3:08
Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates 2009 Legacy / RCA 3:09
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:11
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution / Source Interlink / Virgin 3:08
Party Tyme Karaoke: Billboard Top 40 Karaoke, Vol. 6
Karaoke
Sybersound Records 3:14
Romantically Yours
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:09
The Greatest Love Songs of the '70s
Various Artists
Time Life 3:07
The Heart of Classic Rock [Box Set]
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:07