SINGER-SONGWRITER, AUTHOR, ACTIVIST …
A quick walk through some of the highlights of a stellar career
John Hall was studying piano at 5, playing French horn, guitar, bass and drums by 12. He started playing in the clubs of Georgetown and Greenwich Village by 18, recording an album for MGM (Thunderfrog) and then another for Columbia (Action). At 21 he wrote and directed music for a Broadway and Off-Broadway play, the latter receiving the Village Voice’s Obie award in 1969.
Numerous NY sessions and club gigs gave way to working with producer John Simon on numerous projects including Seals and Crofts’ album Down Home. Next came a tour with Taj Mahal and double live album recorded at Fillmore East and West. Woodstock promoter Michael Lang asked John to play guitar on the folk legend Karen Dalton’s record In My Own Time, and then to tour with her in Europe.
When he came home to Woodstock NY, John started the band that would become Orleans in January 1972 in conjunction with drummer Wells Kelly and multi-instrumentalist Larry Hoppen. They were joined that October by Larry’s brother, Lance Hoppen. That quartet recorded the first four albums, two for ABC and two for Asylum Records. The latter contained the John and Johanna Hall-written hits Dance With Me and Still The One, songs that have garnered over 9 million terrestrial airplays and hundreds of millions of streams.
John departed Orleans for solo pursuits in the fall of 1977. He co-founded the group Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) and helped organize the 1979 No Nukes concerts at Madison Square Garden. His song Power was its anthem, performed and recorded there by the Doobie Brothers with James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Carly Simon, Nicolette Larson, Phoebe Snow, and many more.
Power, the title track to his solo album, was also recorded and performed by Holly Near, Peter Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger and others.
John has also co-written songs for Janis Joplin, Millie Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Bonnie Raitt, The Tymes, Chaka Khan, Chet Atkins, and Steve Wariner among others.
In the early 1980s the John Hall Band was signed to EMI-America Records and recorded two LPs: Search Party and All Of The Above, which contained the AOR and MTV staple Crazy (Keep On Fallin’).
He returned once again to Orleans in 1985, as he and the Hoppens headed to Nashville to record their Grown Up Children album. That was the first of several recording projects and a wealth of live performances over the next decade.
John served on the board of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in 2004-05. In 2006 he was elected to the US House of Representatives representing NY-19; he was re-elected in 2008. He chaired the Subcommittee on Veterans’ Disabilities and authored the Veterans’ Claims Modernization Act of 2008, which passed both House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by President George W. Bush who called it “good government.” He also served on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Returning to private life in 2011, John resumed recording and performing live with Orleans, retiring from the road in early 2022. He also wrote and recorded songs for his newest solo album, Reclaiming My Time, released in the spring of 2022.