In a way, We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off may be the biggest oxymoron for me on my countdown. Despite its sobering deeper message when released in 1986, all I wanted to do as a 15-year old, literally was take my clothes off. In conducting research for this series I stumped upon plenty of other 80s countdowns for comparison, including VH-1 and noticed this song wasn’t on any of them, except maybe a “worst” songs countdown
Rib me all you want and odds suggest you probably are, but this was an awesome song. It’s lighthearted and far more fun that it should’ve ever been, yet laced with serious consequence and illness undertones.
Let’s discuss the latter first. We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off has plenty to do with the 80s AIDS epidemic and is encumbered with the fear and loathing of having sex due tosexually transmitted diseases. It’s never been revealed if Jermaine Stewart knew he was HIV Positive when he recorded this in 1986 , but he sadly succumbed to the disease about a decade later in 1997.
I don’t recall a song previous to this that flat-out endorsed abstinence. In that regards it’s a pioneer. For that reason alone it was different than anything else I was hearing on the radio.
On a less serious side, it was an innocently fun singalong favorite at parties, even if everyone I knew was hypocritically banging away by then. Personally I found Stewart’s voice a bit nasally for my taste — perhaps why he was a one-hit wonder, but I have no shame confessing I consider We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off a pleasurable, harmonious slice of mid’80s pop music.
It’s fluff, but great fluff. Trust me, I know it’s not a tune rooted in masculinity. By comparison it makes the Carpenters look like a couple ragers.
I don’t give a shit. Any song that makes me want to bust out some cherry wine while partying all night and keeping my clothing fully intact has my utmost respect.
Chart Success: It peaked at number-five on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States while reaching as high as two in both Canada and the U.K. It remained on the charts for 22 weeks and finished 1986 ranked 26th on the year-end Billboard Hot 100.
Great Lyrics: These lyrics definitively suggest Stewart wasn’t having any part of the no-pants dance.
“So come on baby, won’t you show some class
Why do you have to move so fast?
We don’t have to take our clothes off
To have a good time
We could dance and party all night
And drink some cherry wine”
Fun Facts: Stewart’s was widely known as a one-hit wonder but actually charted on Billboard three other times. The Word Is Out hit No. 41 in 1984 and Jody got up to No. 42 in 1986. His second-biggest “hit” was 1987’s Say It Again, which reached 27. Also, all three of those songs sucked badly.
100. Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
99. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgetting
97. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Does Is Magic
96. Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
94. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
93. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
92. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
89. Journey – Don’t Stop Believing
87. Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat
86. Glen Mederios – Nothing’s Going To Change My Love For You
85. John Cougar – Jack and Diane
81. Billy Squier – Everybody Wants You
79. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life
77. Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All
76. Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – Say Say Say
75. Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
74. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
73. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
72. The Police – Every Breathe You Take
71. Survivor – The Search Is Over
70. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You
68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
67. Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Halfway
66. Irene Cara – Flashdance…What A Feeling
65. Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
64. Phil Collins – One More Night
63. Europe – The Final Countdown
62. Patrick Swazye – She’s Like The Wind
61. Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride
60. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
59. Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
58. Huey Lewis & The News – Power Of Love
55. Styx – Too Much Time On My Hands
53. Olivia Newton John – Physical
49. Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing
48. Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe In Love
44. New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man
43. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
42. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
41. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
39. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark
38. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
37. Christopher Cross – Sailing
34. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
33. Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield
32. USA For Africa- We Are The World
30. Kenny Loggins – I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)
29. Dexys Midnite Runners – Come On Eileen
28. J. Geils Band – Centerfold
27. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes
24. Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now
23. Eddie Murphy – Party All The Time