Orleans got together in Woodstock, New York in 1972, its ranks including singer/songwriter John Hall and drummer Jerry Marotta. The band became a major draw on the Northeast circuit and was soon signed to Asylum by David Geffen.
With Elektra/Asylum head of A&R Chuck Plotkin producing, Orleans created a body of work that defined ‘70s soft rock, beginning with the 1975 hits, “Let There Be Music” and “Dance With Me.” The following year saw the release of Waking And Dreaming, which featured the top 5 standard, “Still The One.”
Hall left the band in 1978 to concentrate on both his solo career as well as his burgeoning interest in anti-nuclear activism. Not long after 1979’s Three Mile Island nuclear accident, Hall teamed with Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt to co-found MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), a group advocating against the use of nuclear power. In September 1979, MUSE organized a series of five benefit shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden known as “No Nukes: The MUSE Concerts For A Non-Nuclear Future.” The event – documented by Asylum on an RIAA gold-certified triple album – saw performances from an array of top stars, including Hall, Browne, Nash, and Raitt as well as The Doobie Brothers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Poco, James Taylor, Carly Simon, and famously, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. A full-length film of the concerts, also entitled No Nukes, was released in 1980.
Hall reunited briefly with Orleans after the 1984 death of drummer/percussionist Wells Kelly and still continues to perform occasionally with his former bandmates. In November 2006, the longtime local activist was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democratic congressman for New York’s 19th congressional district. He was re-elected in 2008.
Along with Hall’s post-Orleans success, drummer Jerry Marotta went on to enjoy a long career as a sought-after session drummer, with notable stints alongside Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, and The Indigo Girls.