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Traumafessions :: Reader Nat on “Maneater” by Hall & Oates

July 16th, 2008 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

Absurd though it may sound, the Hall & Oates song “Maneater” traumatized me so much that I actually stopped listening to the radio. I used to listen to the radio all the time, but once that song came out, and once I heard it late at night (which, given my age at the time, was probably like 8 or 9pm), it freaked me out so badly that I had to enter a self-enforced radio silence for fear that the song might come on again. I was, of course, taking the lyrics too literally; my metaphor glands had not dropped yet.

UNK SEZ: Dear Nat: I know many people who claim to be scared of John Oates’ awesome mustache, but I have never heard of anyone being afraid of the smooth as velvet, blue-eyed soul, pop masterpiece “Maneater.” I always thought the song brought in the happy thoughts like NATASSIA KINSKI in PAUL SCHRADER‘s CAT PEOPLE (which was also released in 1982) or that awesome video game that looked like a shark’s face also entitled MANEATER. I do feel your pain though. I’ve mentioned before my on going adverse reaction to THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, but it seems your feeling towards “Maneater” more closely resembles my own for Paul McCartney and Wings’ horrifically spooky-toned song “Let ‘Em In“…you know, “Someone’s knocking on the door, somebody’s ringing the bell…do me a favor, open the door and let ’em in…” I remember hearing this song on my little transistor radio as a kid and being terrified by who might be behind said door (This being the seventies I was pretty sure it was Satan himself). Some nice youtuber made a mash-up of the song with a Beatles cartoon in which they are confronted by Frankenstein, the Wolfman and a bunch of other ghouls. Although it amounts to exactly zero in the sense making department, I think it perfectly illustrates what was going on inside my wee little brain at the time. (To be honest the song’s lazy marching beat still gives me the willies). To experience the creepy horror go HERE, otherwise you can always revisit your own unhappy place HERE. The sad news is, just like with my trauma song, you can be sure that “Maneater,” due to its popularity is never, ever, ever, going to go away!

UPDATE: The original WINGS‘ version of “Let Em In” is no longer scary to me now that I have witnessed BERT PARKS‘ performance of the same song at the 1976 Miss America Pageant. Only those who do not have residual LSD locked in their spinal cord should venture HERE!!!

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12 years ago

Who knew Maneater could be anything other than sexy…it’s strange how our little brains worked back then.  But, seriously, Uncle, Let ‘Em In?  Dear Christ, you’re a mess….but that’s why I love you.

Oh, a hundred thank yous for Bert’s amazing performance.  I really can’t say this enough, “The 1970s was the best decade…ever.”

12 years ago

Unkle, I must admit that I had the same problem with the Alan Parsons Project for years. Something about “Eye in the Sky” just creeped me out, however, something strange has happened to me recently. I have had the urge to buy APP songs off iTunes. Okay, I admit it. I did buy some APP songs including “Eye in the Sky”. I guess I have gone crazy in my old age.

12 years ago

I can actually understand the “Let ’em In” thing – it’s definitely an angst peculiar to the 70’s, including the campy Bert version.  Damn.

I didn’t take any 80’s pop music seriously though so I can’t relate to the Alan Parsons or Hall & Oates things…

You wanna hear terror though?  I was about 8 when Blue Swede’s version of “Hooked On a Feeling” first appeared on the air.  My alarm clock was cranked and the song started at the exact moment that the alarm went off.  When the OOGA-CHAKA OOGA-CHAKA blasted me out of bed I seriously thought malevolent aliens were landing and had taken over the airwaves.  Fothermucker!

12 years ago

I was always okay with “Maneater,” and Hall & Oates in general. I was, however, terrified by the song “Maniac” by Michael Sembello.

Apparently, the song’s chorus originally went a little something like this: “He’s a maniac, maniac that’s for sure. He will kill your cat and nail him to the door. ”

No, really! Or, so says Wikipedia.

J.A. 1969
12 years ago

This Hall and Oates correspondence is got me
a little giddy and a little nervous right now.
I never thought “Maneater” was scary, I knew 
from the first time I heard it, it was evoking 
illicit unspeakable things.  One of the reasons
I wanted to add to this was because I vividly, 
vividly remember holding the cover of my copy 
up closely to look at their faces and oh gosh 
I’m so perverted back then!

I thought they were in some gay bathhouse and 
had just hooked up.  The look in their eyes 
towards each other and all the dripping sweat.  
It should have been a Village People cover.

They should never have put the “H20” copy 
on the cover.  I really did like them when I was 
a kid though, I especially really liked their 
kooky take on the whole detective thing during 
the “Private Eyes” era.  That’s my favorite album 
by them.  H20 was just dirty.

12 years ago

Ha, ha!  I was never frightened by Hall & Oates, though as a long-haired metalhead I was quite contemptuous of them.  I agree with the Village People analogy.  I heard rumours…well, let’s just say that they were a bit dodgy.  I actually found the video for “Family Man” a little more frightening.  Daryl Hall looks like he’s bursting for a pee most of the time!
As far as the Alan Parsons song, if you really want to hear a paranoid “you’re being watched” song, listen to “Gonna Get Close To You” by Queensryche; it’s a cover by a Canadian artist, Lisa DalBello.  The singer, Geoff Tate, sounds like an absolute psycho…

12 years ago

OberstKurt: I love Dalbello, and Whomanfoursays was her best album (and features “Gonna Get Close To You). A very underrated talent. She did a great deal of writing over the years, however, so didn’t go completely unnoticed behind the scenes.

12 years ago

Kitty: You’re Canadian, right?  I thought so.  Very few outside of Canada know who (Lisa) Dalbello is.  I live near the Canadian border and go there a lot (at least I did before the US customs got so strict; now it’s more like once every couple of months because I don’t like the hassle) so I’m more familiar with Canadian artists than many other Americans.  However, I’ve never actually heard her music.  I know of her music just through the song Queensryche covered, though I understand she’s very prolific, having even written some TV jingles!  I read an article about her in Kerrang! magazine about 20-odd years ago, but most of it focussed on how pretty she was…

Amanda Mullins
Amanda Mullins
2 years ago

Oh my god…I thought it was just me! “Maneater” came out the year I was born, but I remember hearing it for the first time when I was 7. It disturbed me greatly, because I took it too literally too! xD