Skeletons (Stevie Wonder song)

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Stevie Wonder - Skeletons.jpg
Single by Stevie Wonder
from the album Characters
ReleasedSeptember 29, 1987
Recorded1987; Livingstone Studios
GenreR&B, funk, synthpop
Length4:55 (single edit)
5:24 (album version)
6:43 (12" extended version)
Songwriter(s)Stevie Wonder
Producer(s)Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder singles chronology
"Stranger On The Shore Of Love"
"You Will Know"

"Skeletons" is a number-one R&B single performed by American recording artist Stevie Wonder from his 1987 Characters album. The song earned Stevie Wonder two 1988 Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, while the album Characters would be nominated the following year for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance.

"Skeletons" went to number one on the Black Singles Chart, and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 19, and was the final top 40 hit for Wonder to date.[1] The single also peaked at number 20 on the US dance chart.[2]

The song is an R&B and synthpop record about lies and deceptions being uncovered. The 12" extended version features short sound bites from prominent figures such as Col. Oliver North ("I am not ashamed of anything in my professional and personal conduct") and President Ronald Reagan ("The United States has not made concessions to those who hold our people captive in Lebanon") among others. This has remained a popular R&B uptempo song for Stevie Wonder, as well receiving airplay from urban radio stations.

The song was featured in the 1988 action film Die Hard, played when the character Argyle speaks on the phone.

The song was also featured in the 2nd trailer and soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto V, appearing on the fictional in-game radio station Space 103.2 FM.

Music video[edit]

The song's music video shows Stevie Wonder sitting on the front porch of his home, in a typical white-picket-fence American neighborhood. As the video progresses, he greets his archetypical neighbors, and we are shown who they are; then we are shown their "skeletons", or secrets. Karen Black is featured as the "perfect" mother and housewife who is secretly an alcoholic. Next is the businessman, a "pillar of the community" who cross-dresses in private. Then, the "all-American girl next door" is shown to be secretly being molested by her father. Lastly, we are shown the athletic "all-American boy next door" who is actually a cocaine addict.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 636.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 283.

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