Characters (Stevie Wonder album)

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Characters
Stevie characters.jpg
Studio album by Stevie Wonder
Released November 6, 1987
Recorded 1986–87
Studio Wonderland Recording Studios, Los Angeles, 1 Der 1 Mobile Unit, Westside Studios, London[1]
Genre R&B, quiet storm, soul, synthpop, dance-pop
Length 48:37 (vinyl)
61:33 (CD)
Label Motown
Producer Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder chronology
In Square Circle
(1985)
''Characters''
(1987)
Jungle Fever
(1991)
Singles from Characters
  1. "Skeletons"
    Released: September 1987
  2. "You Will Know"
    Released: March 1988
  3. "Get It"
    Released: May 1988
  4. "My Eyes Don't Cry"
    Released: 1988
  5. "With Each Beat of My Heart"
    Released: 1988
  6. "Free"
    Released: 1989
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune(favorable)[3]
Robert ChristgauA−[4]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[5]
MusicHound3/5 stars[6]
Q5/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone(mixed)[9]

Characters is the twenty-first studio album by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder released in late 1987. The album features three singles including "Get It", the Grammy-nominated "Skeletons" and "You Will Know", which both reached number one on the Billboard R&B Singles chart (the latter being his final American top 40 hit of his career).

Overview[edit]

Although highly anticipated like his last album, 1985's In Square Circle upon its release, the album received mixed reviews from critics, and debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard 200. It became his first album since Music of My Mind not to reach the top ten of the charts.

It also debuted at number one on the Top R&B Albums chart for seven weeks, and spawned six singles including "Get It", "Skeletons" and the ballad "You Will Know" that had attained Billboard R&B chart success.

Awards and nominations[edit]

The album earned Wonder three Grammy Award nominations in 1988–89. The album's first single, "Skeletons" received two nominations for Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 30th Grammy Awards. He lost Best R&B Song to "Lean On Me" (Bill Withers) and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance to Smokey Robinson's "Just to See Her" at the ceremony. Characters received a nomination at the 31st Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, losing to Terrence Trent D'Arby's debut Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby.

To promote the album, Wonder performed a one-hour "Characters" special on MTV, in which he also performed unreleased material as well as a duet with Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Stevie Wonder except where noted.

Side one
  1. "You Will Know" - 5:00
  2. "Dark 'n' Lovely" (Gary Byrd, Wonder) - 4:39
  3. "In Your Corner" - 4:30
  4. "With Each Beat of My Heart" - 5:28
  5. "One of a Kind" - 5:10
Side two
  1. "Skeletons" - 5:24
  2. "Get It" (featuring Michael Jackson) - 4:31
  3. "Galaxy Paradise" - 3:52
  4. "Cryin' Through the Night" - 5:48
  5. "Free" - 4:12
CD Bonus tracks
  1. "Come Let Me Make Your Love Come Down" (featuring B.B. King & Stevie Ray Vaughan) - 5:20
  2. "My Eyes Don't Cry" - 7:05

Personnel[edit]

  • Michael Jackson – Performer, Lead Vocals (track 7)
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – Performer, Guitar (track 11)
  • B.B. King – Performer, Guitar (track 11)
  • Ben Bridges - Performer, Electric Guitar (track 7)
  • Gary Olazabal – Engineer, Associate Producer, Mixing, Keyboard Programming (All tracks)
  • Stevie Wonder – Arranger (All tracks), Synthesizers (tracks 1-4, 6-7, 9, 11), Bass Synth (1, 9), Synth Horns (12), Piano (9-10), Keyboards (including Harpsichord- 10), Lead Vocals (All tracks), Background Vocals (tracks 1-2, 4, 7), Bass (tracks 2, 7-8, 11-12), Drums (1-2, 4-9), Percussion (1-2, 4, 6-7), Strings (1), Bells (1), Drum Machine (3), Harmonica (5)
  • Recorded at Livingstone Studios, London, England, U.K.

Charts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Stevie-Wonder-Characters/release/1096883
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Characters at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
  3. ^ Van Matre, Lynn (November 15, 1987). "Wonde's Upbeat 'Characters'". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. Consumer Guide Reviews: Characters. The Village Voice. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
  5. ^ Grein, Paul (November 15, 1987). "Record Rack: Good-Time Wonder". articles.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 1243. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  7. ^ Bradley, Lloyd (January 1988). "Chunky: Stevie Wonder Characters". Q. p. 81. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ David Wild (1988-01-28). "Characters | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  11. ^ "austriancharts.at Stevie Wonder – Characters" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 20, 2013
  13. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Stevie Wonder – Characters" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  14. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on May 7, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1987" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  17. ^ "swedishcharts.com Stevie Wonder – Characters" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Stevie Wonder – Characters – hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Chart Stats – Stevie Wonder – Characters" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  20. ^ "allmusic ((( Characters > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Album Search: Stevie Wonder – Characters" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  22. ^ "French album certifications – Stevie Wonder – Characters" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select STEVIE WONDER and click OK
  23. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr (in French). SNEP. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ "British album certifications – Stevie Wonder – Characters". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 20, 2013.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Enter Characters in the search field and then press Enter.
  25. ^ "American album certifications – Stevie Wonder – Characters". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 20, 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH