We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off

Album: Frantic Romantic (1986)
Charted: 2 5

Songfacts®:

  • In a reversal of traditional norms, this song finds Stewart telling a girl to slow her roll - he's not just some piece of meat she can love an leave behind. A man wants to be approached cool and romantically.

    The only indication it's a girl he's singing to is the video, where he's singing it to a lady. They lyric never identifies the gender of his pursuer, whom he refers to as "baby." Stewart, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1997, was gay.
  • Written by Narada Michael Walden and Preston Glass, this was the first single from Stewart's second album, Frantic Romantic. Walden was enjoying smashing success around this time, having produced Whitney Houston's first album and Aretha Franklin's return to glory, Who's Zoomin' Who? He pretty much nailed the quirky, fun sound of the '80s and could coax great performances out of expressive singers like Stewart.
  • Most of this track was built with electronic instruments: a Linn drum machine, Simmons electronic drums, Moog bass and a selection of keyboards and synthesizers. Corrado Rustici played guitar and Marc Russo played the saxophone fills.
  • There is no instrumental solo on this one. In it's stead, Stewart does the always-reliable "na na" vocal break:
    "Na na na na na na na..."
  • Like Jody Watley, Stewart was a Soul Train dancer who landed a record deal. Don Cornelius gave him a warm welcome when he returned to the show to perform the song in 1986.
  • This was by far Stewart's biggest hit, but he landed three other tracks in the Hot 100: his debut single "The Word Is Out" (#41), "Jody" (#42) and "Say It Again" (#27). He appeared on a 1988 episode of the TV series Miami Vice performing his song "Talk Dirty To Me."
  • David Fincher directed the video, which is notable for a the letterboxed background layer that shifts in space, with subjects entering the unconstrained foreground from time to time. Weird to think the guy who did this went on to direct Se7en.
  • This was used in the 2008 film Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and in the 2003 episode of Scrubs, "My Dirty Secret."

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1986 {July 5th} Jermaine Stewart performed "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at position #29 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, five weeks later it would peak at #5 {for 2 weeks} and it spent twenty two weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2* in both Canada and the United Kingdom...
    Between 1984 and 1987 the Columbus, Ohio native had four records on the Top 100 chart, the above record was his only Top 10 hit...
    His three other Top 100 records were "The Word Is Out" {#41 in 1984}, "Jody" {#42 in 1986}, and "Say It Again" {#27 in 1987}...
    Sadly, William Jermaine Stewart passed away at the young age of 39 on March 17th, 1997 {liver cancer}...
    May he R.I.P.
    * The one week that "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" peaked at #2 in Canada, the #1 record for that week was another "Don't" record, "Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna, and in the U.K. it was at #2 for two weeks, and the #1 record for both those weeks was yet another "Don't" record, "Don't Leave Me This Way" by the Communards...
    Additional note: One month earlier on June 14th, 1986 Jermaine Stewart performed "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" on 'Soul Train'...
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