Skeletons (Stevie Wonder song)
|Single by Stevie Wonder|
|from the album Characters|
|Released||September 29, 1987|
|Recorded||1987; Livingstone Studios|
|Genre||R&B, funk, synthpop|
|Length||4:55 (single edit) |
5:24 (album version)
6:43 (12" extended version)
|Stevie Wonder singles chronology|
"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 20 hit for Wonder to date. The single also peaked at number 20 on the US dance chart.
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 video depicts a very different interpretation of the song. In it, Stevie is 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". 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.
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