On this date in 1982, Hall and Oates reached no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Maneater”. Featured on their eleventh studio album, H2O, it remained in the top spot for four weeks, more than any of the duo’s five number-one hits, including “Kiss on My List”, which remained in the top spot for three weeks.
In an interview with American Songwriter in 2009, Daryl Hall recalled:
“John had written a prototype of ‘Maneater’; he was banging it around with Edgar Winter. It was like a reggae song. I said, ‘Well, the chords are interesting, but I think we should change the groove.’ I changed it to that Motown kind of groove. So we did that, and I played it for Sara Allen and sang it for herâ¦ [sings] ‘Oh here she comes / Watch out boy sheâll chew you up / Oh here she comes / She’s a maneaterâ¦ and aâ¦’ I forget what the last line was. She said, ‘drop that shit at the end and go, ‘She’s a maneater,’ and stop! And I said, ‘No, youâre crazy, that’s messed up.’ Then I thought about it, and I realised she was right. And it made all the difference in the song.”
John Oates has explained that while it is natural to assume the lyrics are about a woman, the song actually was originally written “about NYC in the 80s. It’s about greed, avarice, and spoiled riches. But we have it in the setting of a girl because it’s more relatable. It’s something that people can understand. That’s what we do all of the time,” after describing how they took a similar approach with the earlier song “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”.
The music video below, Tori Matthieu covers “Maneater” beautifully.
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Sources: Wikipedia, This Day in Music.
Featured Image: Rolling Stone.