re-examining songs from my youth, part 5: "maneater", hall & oates

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(Read Part 1: The Unforgiven; Part 2: Funky Cold Medina; Part 3: Mr. Wendal; Part 4: Mr. Jones)


When I was very young, my sister and I were obsessed with MTV. Besides our parents' Michael Jackson and Huey Lewis records, this was our main source for rock n' roll. Every week, Megan and I would painstakingly type out the week's Top 20 Videos, as determined by MTV, on my father's computer. It usually took us the whole week to get all twenty listed, since Megan and I were five and four, respectively, but we'd post-date the list so it appeared to have been finished on time. This lasted for maybe three months.

As a result, I have a nostalgic affection for the music of the 80's, just like everyone else in the entire world. However, my general affection for Soft Cell and Big Country is dwarfed by my profound affection for videos I saw on MTV in that intense, formative period of my life. I might know most of the words to "Tanted Love", but I know precisely when John Waite slams down the pay phone in the video for "Missing You".

Which brings us to "Maneater". "Maneater" was not a new song at the time we were doing our obsessive nerd lists. However, two years after its release, the video was still in heavy rotation. The song was popular, there's a panther wandering around in the video, and maybe MTV didn't have many videos yet.

I loved "Maneater". I had a real weakness for songs with heavy saxophone parts back then, which explains my fervent love for mid-80's Glenn Frey. (The heavy saxophone also explains why the song has only one verse, but is still four-and-a-half minutes long.) I walked around the house a lot, singing "Maneater". And I did so not realizing I was singing the wrong lyrics.

At the chorus, when Hall sings, "Watch out boys, she'll chew you up", I thought he said, "Watch out boys, she'll cheer you up." A subtle but important difference. Because of my speech impediment, no one corrected me. When you can't say the letter "r" correctly, "cheer" and "chew" sound exactly the same. And thus I was probably 14 when I finally realized, "Wait, he's saying 'chew'! Of course! That panther could have eaten them all!"

I also thought Hall was singing, "Bottom to bottom" when he sang, "Mind over matter", but I can't blame that on my enunciation troubles.

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not only do i still love that song, but i still love making lists. and while i can hardly remember what i did last week, i still know all the words to almost every top 20 video countdown song, circa 1984-1985.

and yes, i just saw huey lewis in concert!

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on June 4, 2006 11:14 PM.

a ring tone is a wish your phone makes was the previous entry in this blog.

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