Friday, February 4, 2011
My Favorite Songs EVER! - Jermaine Stewart "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off"
I know I've discussed this song briefly once before, but even so... Released in 1986, Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" was one of the first pop singles to reflect the change in public thoughts about sex in the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic. It was also a booty-shaking good time! The song was featured on Miami Vice and took off on radio, hitting #5 in the US and #2 in the UK! I can't verify this, but I'm sure it also led to the sales of cherry wine skyrocketing! (The consumption of which, I would assume, led to clothes actually being taken off, so... y'know IRONY!)
Miss Jermaine was born in Columbus, OH (!) and moved to Chicago in the 70s, becoming a Soul Train dancer, alongside Jody Watley. Jermaine went on tour with Jody's group Shalimar as a backup singer and dancer. He later toured as a backup singer for Culture Club which led to his receiving his own record deal. His first album, The Word Is Out, spawned an R&B hit with its title track, co-written with Culture Club's Mikey Craig. It was a modest hit in the US, but I definitely remember it! I probably roller skated to it!
Then came Frantic Romantic, his second album, featuring "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off." Boy George's flamboyance and Prince's androgyny surely made it more palatable for singers whose sexuality was questionable to attain some degree of success, whereas in the past it surely would not have! Jermaine (along with the flouncy lead singer of Ready For The World, see upcoming MFSE!) managed to score massive pop hits, even though they were clearly FLAMING QUEENS! (Bow down, Adam Lambert!)
Jermaine ended up a one hit wonder on the US pop charts. A few more of his singles achieved moderate success on the R&B charts. Interestingly, he went on to even GREATER success abroad as his third album was actually more successful in Europe than Frantic Romantic had been! A later single "Hot & Cold" was featured over the closing credits of Weekend At Bernies... so there's that.
Frantic Romantic was re-released on CD in October which I, not-surprisingly, missed. (I got that shizz now, though!) It was the first release of the album since 1986 and was enhanced with the 12" extended mixes of "We Don't...," "The Word Is Out," "Jody" (his second single from the album, written about his friend, Jody Watley) and "Dance Floor" (the second song on the album, my second favorite song from it) as well as bonus tracks, "The Word Is Out" (from his first album" and "Brilliance" the original B-side to "We Don't..." I have to say, the 7" Radio Edit would have been a nice inclusion, but I'm not going to quibble!
This is a FAB-U-LOUS clip of him on American Bandstand! Dick Clark introduces him, then Jermaine and his two backup singers/dancers "perform" (you should know what that means by now) "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off." Dick then interviews the very soft-spoken Jermaine who discusses his pre-solo career, making sure to name check his friends who had helped him get to that point, before performing his sophomore single from that album "Jody"... and he kinda TEARS IT UP! STRANGE' GURL!!!
Sadly, Jermaine's story ended tragically, when he died in 1997 from AIDS-related liver cancer. Um... guess someone DID take their clothes off. Sad clown! Even so, I admire him for being so open and out there! His song "Dance Floor" even features a line about not being locked in a closet! So add him to the list of my gay icons growing up, alongside Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds and Hollywooooooooooood! And C-3PO, cuz, y'know, we ALL know.
So there you go, another of my Favorite Songs EVER!