Daryl Hall & John Oates
Writer(s): Sara Allen, Daryl Hall, John Oates (see lyrics here)
First Charted: October 15, 1982
Peak: 14 US, 15 CB, 15 GR, 14 RR, 14 AC, 78 RB, 18 AR, 6 UK, 4 CN, 4 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 245.18 video, 458.2 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Daryl Hall and John Oates became the biggest duo in American chart history on the strength of multiple hits in the ‘70s and ‘80s, including six #1 songs. The biggest of them was “Maneater” from their 11th album, H2O. In a bit of trivia, it was the biggest hit of the ‘80s to feature a sax solo. SF
The song grew out of a reggae-tinged prototype Oates created with Edgar Winter. WK Hall changed the groove to a Motown thing. In fact, when Motown songwriter LaMont Dozier first heard the song, the introduction made him think the duo had done a cover of the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love.” FB It was one of a handful of songs by the duo with a songwriting credit given to Sara Allen, Hall’s girlfriend. Hall said it was her idea to end the line after “she’s a maneater” whereas he’d originally had more written after that. He said her idea is what made the song come together. SF
Songfacts says the song is “about a very seductive woman with expensive tastes that she uses men to satisfy.” SF Hall said it was understandable that people assumed the lyrics were about a woman, but the song was actually “about NYC in the ‘80s. It’s about greed, avarice, and spoiled richies. But we have it in the setting of a girl because it’s more relatable.” WK Despite Hall’s claims, lines like “The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar” sure sounds more like it is about a woman than New York City.
According to Hall, “someone decided the ‘Maneater’ video wouldn’t be complete without an actual panther…It appeared for a second and a half in the video and probably cost $10,000.” SF The panther and a woman are juxtaposed with shots of the band in what appears to be an after-hours champagne room. SF The panther was leashed to the floor for the shoot, but got loose at one point and roamed the rafters. Hall said this is when he left. SF
First posted 11/28/2020; last updated 8/9/2023.