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
Oh no
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.

68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel 

56. Michael Sembello – Maniac

55. Styx – Too Much Time On My Hands

54. Heart – Alone 

53. Olivia Newton John – Physical 

52. Loverboy – When It’s Over

51. The Time – Jungle Love

50 Michael Jackson – Thriller 

49. Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing 

 48. Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe In Love

47. Madonna – Crazy For You

46. Hall & Oates – Maneater

45. Toto – Rosanna 

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

40. Tiffany – Could’ve Been

39. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

38. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon

37. Christopher Cross – Sailing 

36. Go-Go’s – We Got The Beat

35. The Jets – Make It Real

34. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is

33. Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield

32. USA For Africa- We Are The World

31. Van Halen – Jump

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

26. Madonna – Like A Virgin

25. New Edition – Cool It Now

24. Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now

23. Eddie Murphy – Party All The Time