AS one half of the most successful musical duo of all time, John Oates admits that for him and partner Daryl Hall life couldn’t be better.

Speaking from his home in Nashville, John is preparing to come over to the UK for a series of Hall and Oates gigs including one at Manchester Arena. It will be the pair’s first UK tour in four years.

“It’s very satisfying to know that we are doing what we love to do and what we want to do and that the world has allowed us to do it,” said John. “We don’t have to prove anything to anyone. We do what we do and people who like that, they support us. It’s the ultimate situation for an artist – it really doesn’t get any better.”

Hall and Oates began their musical adventures in 1970 and have subsequently sold more than 40 million records worldwide. Singles such as Maneater, I Can’t Go For That and Out of Touch were hits on both sides of the Atlantic and the pair have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As impressive as that success is, equally impressive is that the pair have been together for almost 50 years.

John puts this down to a conscious decision to allow each other time to pursue individual projects.

“We don’t tour constantly so we are able to do other things whether its personal things in life or other professional things,” he said.

Since 2007, Daryl has presented the show Live from Daryl’s House on MTV, and John has enjoyed a solo career releasing a number of Americana albums including last year’s acclaimed Arkansas.

“We get to do new creative things that keep us inspired and moving forward and at the same time we get to celebrate this incredible musical legacy that we created,” said John.

“Over the years we have made a conscious decision to keep the space open for individuality because I think what happens is that people can get lost in the context of a band. That’s frustrating and can be very debilitating and usually causes bad things to happen.

“I think we have been pretty smart about that.”

John, 71, is particularly happy to be heading back to the UK where fans have a particular affinity with the band.

“UK audiences just got us from the start,” he said. “I think the first time we came over was in 1974 and it blew our minds There was this hip group of UK music lovers who had discovered us. We were the darlings of this small eclectic group and we had no idea. It was kind of amazing.

“The first show we did was at the Victoria Theatre in London and the crowd went absolutely crazy. We just didn’t expect it. We ran out of songs and at the end we ended up playing She’s Gone twice almost in desperation. We didn’t know what to do, we were totally unprepared for the reception.”

Rather than running out of songs, the problem Hall and Oates now face is knowing what songs to include into a show.

“I guess we could do a four hour marathon but we’re not about that,” he said. “In fact I don’t want to do anything that takes four hours – life’s too short.

“We could do an entire set of number one and top five records but essentially we do the best of the best. When you have a career like ours, you have a professional responsibility to play for the more casual fans who are really coming to hear those songs.

“But at the same time we have a group of hardcore fans, especially in the UK, who know everything. They know the album cuts so in the UK we always tend to modify our set a little bit to bring those songs into the set and we sprinkle them in here and there.

“It makes for a more interesting musical evening – we give people what they want and a bit more that perhaps they didn’t expect.”

After all the years together John said that the relationship with Daryl on stage is almost telepathic

“We don’t need to say anything but we can’t believe we’re still doing it and so many people want to see us,” he said.

Away from music, John’s great passion is classic cars - he currently owns a Porsche 356 and an MGA.

“After the UK dates we have a couple of shows in Germany,” he said. “And while we’re there, I’m going to the Porsche Museum and the head of Porsche design is going to show me around - that’s going to be very cool.”

Best keep the cheque book in the pocket then, John.

“Oh, man believe me, I’m not going to buy any more cars - but that’s what I always tell myself. Still I guess it’s better than drugs and hookers!”

Hall and Oates, Manchester Arena, Sunday, April 28, Details from