"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" is a 1981 song recorded by Daryl Hall and John Oates.

It was the fourth number-one hit single of their career on the Billboard Hot 100 and the second hit single from their album Private Eyes. It features Charles DeChant onsaxello.[1]

On January 30, 1982, "I Can't Go for That" ended a 10-week run at the top of the Hot 100 by Olivia Newton-John's song, "Physical" (which had knocked out Hall & Oates'"Private Eyes" from the top spot). The song also went to number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart for one week in January 1982.

Thanks to heavy airplay on urban contemporary radio stations, "I Can't Go for That" also topped the U.S. R&B chart, a rare feat for a White act. According to the Hall and Oates biography, Hall, upon learning that "I Can't Go For That" had gone to number one on the R&B chart, wrote in his diary, "I'm the head soul brother in the U.S. Where to now?"

"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" is one of 14 Hall and Oates songs that have been played on the radio over one million times, according to BMI.


 [hide*1 Composition


Daryl Hall sketched out the basic song one evening at a music studio in New York City, in 1981, after a recording session for the Private Eyes album. Hall began to play a bass line on a Korg organ, and sound engineer Neil Kernon recorded the result. Hall then came up with a guitar riff, which he and Oates worked on together. The next day, Hall, Oates and Sara Allen worked on the lyrics.[1]

Awards and accolades[edit]Edit

"I Can't Go for That" was voted number six on VH1's list of "The 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s."


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The song has been covered by numerous recording artists, including Brian McKnight (June 23, 1992 ), The Nylons,[when?] Les Go (with Alfredo Alias),[when?] Donny Osmond,[when?] East End,[when?] KansasCali (September 20, 2005), Orson,[when?] Peniston.[when?][citation needed]

In 2010, The Bird and the Bee covered this song for their tribute album Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates.

Olivia Ong recorded a Bossa Nova based cover version on her 2010 album.

The cast of Glee sang the song as a mash-up with "You Make My Dreams", also by Hall & Oates.[citation needed]

This song was also covered by Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers in their very successful "Van Sessions" series,[when?] which they recorded while driving from one gig to the next. It became a viral hit on YouTube and features Ms. Bluhm not only singing, but in addition playing the sax solo on a kazoo while driving the van. This version has actually been endorsed by Hall and Oates.[citation needed]

Influence on Jackson's "Billie Jean"[edit]Edit

According to Daryl Hall, during the recording of “We Are the World”, Jackson approached him and admitted to lifting the bass line for "Billie Jean" from a Hall and Oates song, apparently referring to "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." Hall says that he told Jackson that he had lifted the bass line from another song himself, and that it was "something we all do."[1][2][3]

Samples and interpolations in other songs[edit]Edit

The original track has often been sampled in R&B and hip-hop songs. The following is a partial list:[4]

Some songs have included a vocal interpolation of the chorus, including:

Other songs have included a re-recorded variation of the song's famous descending arpeggio, including:

Additionally, the JP/PAL Version of Sonic CD's Boss music beat is sampled from this song.[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart (1981–1982) Peak


Canadian Singles Chart 2
Netherlands Singles Chart 13
New Zealand Singles Chart 5
Swedish Singles Chart 10
UK Singles Chart 8
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US BillboardHot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
US BillboardHot Dance Club Songs 1
US BillboardAdult Contemporary 12
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