William Jermaine Stewart (September 7, 1957 – March 17, 1997) was an American R&B singer best known for his 1986 hit single “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”, which reached number 2 in both the UK and Canada. It also reached number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
“We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” (released in the UK as “We Don’t Have To…”) is the first of three singles from 1986. The song was included on his second album Frantic Romantic, released that same year. “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” remains Stewart’s biggest commercial success in both America and Europe.
The song acquired a great deal of success reaching number 2 on the UK and Canadian charts, as well number 5 in the United States.
“We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” was written by Narada Michael Walden and Preston Glass. Walden is a well-known American producer, drummer, singer, and songwriter. Stewart recorded it during 1985 and it was released across the world the following summer, reaching the top 10 in both the USA and the UK.
The single seemed to reflect more modesty when it came to sex in light of the AIDS pandemic at the time. In 1988, Stewart was interviewed by Donnie Simpson where Stewart spoke of the lyrical message within the song. “I think it made a lot of peoples’ minds open up a little bit. We didn’t only want to just talk about clothes, we wanted to extend that. We wanted to use the song as a theme to be able to say you don’t have to do all the negative things that society forces on you. You don’t have to drink and drive. You don’t have to take drugs early. The girls don’t have to get pregnant early. So the clothes bit of it was to get people’s attention, which it did and I’m glad it was a positive message.”
The song reignited Stewart’s popularity, as his previous single, “I Like It” had failed to make much impact as a follow-up to Stewart’s moderately successful debut single, “The Word Is Out” (“I Like It” did not chart in either the UK or America).