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John Oates' 'Pushin' A Rock' has an important message for our time

Here in Philadelphia, where we produce World Cafe, a significant part of our pop DNA has been the music of Philadelphians Daryl Hall and John Oates. Since the fall of 1972, when the pop duo released their debut, Whole Oats, they've delivered decades of hits, with songs like "You Make My Dreams," "Kiss On My List," "Sara Smile" and "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" that have become the fabric of life for multiple generations. While their debut was an album Oates told Roots drummer Questlove on the Questlove Supreme podcast in March that "hardly anybody knows about," the album has perhaps the greatest song about Philadelphia, "Fall In Philadelphia." With that song, they forever etched an important place in our hearts, and every year in the fall, it still sounds great on the radio stations it's played on.

Fast forward 50 years. While Hall and Oates continue to tour, over the years they have each released solo records. Today, Oates has returned with the first in a series of digital singles, "Pushin' A Rock." As their international spokesperson, Oates has teamed up with Movember, the international men's nonprofit, in time for Movember's annual fall campaign where men grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, focusing on mental health, suicide prevention and testicular and prostate cancers.

"Pushin' A Rock," says Oates, was originally written for a 2014 album he was working on called Good Road to Follow. Not making the cut, he revisited the song during the pandemic, collaborating with producer and writer Nathan Paul Chapman. Lyrically, it uses a Sisyphean metaphor about overcoming adversity and struggle. About the song, Oates says, " 'Pushin' A Rock' is a rallying cry to everyone who strives to overcome life's struggles and challenges. It's a universal theme and an important message for our time."

Music has the incredible ability to provide solace and reflection, and "Pushin' A Rock" does just that, with a deep, soulful groove and those signature no mistaking who it is after all these years vocals. "It is important to me to speak out about men's issues and shine a light on things that often go unspoken," says Oates.

Copyright 2022 XPN

Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.