Origins is our recurring series that gives artists a space to break down everything that went into their latest release. Today, John Oates takes us through his new song “Pushin’ a Rock.”
John Oates (of iconic pop duo Hall & Oates) has returned with his new solo single, “Pushin’ a Rock,” an updated version of the Good Road to Follow track. Co-written with Grammy-winning producer Nathan Paul Chapman (Taylor Swift, Shania Twain), the song comes with an accompanying music video steeped in empathy, understanding, and brotherhood.
“I had been interested in the concept of personal struggle and the fact that everyone, regardless of their station in life, has something that they need to address, overcome, or face,” Oates tells Consequence. “Together, Nathan and I pooled our personal experiences and wrote the song in a few hours.”
However, the Sisyphus-referencing song’s journey to completion extended long past those first few hours of work. While initially content with the results of the original writing session — even releasing it in 2014 — Oates felt there was a certain disconnect between the themes of the lyrics and the production of the tune.
Then, the pandemic hit, and Oates found himself spending his newfound time at home reflecting upon the same ideas that brought “Pushin’ a Rock” to life almost a decade ago. “The old song kept haunting me since the theme seemed even more relevant,” he remembers.
So, he took another crack at it, this time striking the sympathetic, uplifting tone he felt the first iteration lacked. With the new version, Oates and Chapman knew they had done the song justice. “Nathan heard it and said, ‘This is how it always should have sounded!'” Oates recalls.
Check out the video for “Pushin’ a Rock” below, followed by John Oates’ breakdown of the track’s Origins.
Oates has also teamed up with the charity Movember to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues focusing on mental health, suicide prevention, and testicular and prostate cancer. Learn more and donate here.