Characters is the Grammy-nominated twenty-first studio album by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, released by Motown Records on November 6, 1987  in North America. Although highly anticipated like its predecessor, In Square Circle (1985) upon its release, the album received mixed reviews from critics, and debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard 200, becoming his first album since Music of My Mind not to reach the top ten of the charts. In the UK, the album debuted at number thirty-three on the UK Albums Chart, being his lowest charting album in comparison to his previous efforts.

It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop 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.


 [hide*1 Overview


This album was Stevie Wonder's first to miss the Top Five on the Billboard charts, and yielded the hit R&B singles: SkeletonsGet It (featuring Michael Jackson who, at the time, was riding high with the success of his Bad album), and the R&B ballad, You Will Know.

Awards and nominations[edit]Edit

The album earned Wonder three Grammy Award nominations, one for the album itself, in the category of Best Male R&B Vocal PerformanceBest R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

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 withStevie Ray Vaughan.

Track listing[edit]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


  • Michael Jackson – Performer
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan- Performer
  • B.B. King- Performer
  • Gary Olazabal – Engineer, Associate Producer, Mixing
  • Stevie Wonder – Arranger, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer
  • Recorded at Livingstone Studios, London, England, U.K


Peak positions[edit]Edit

Chart (1987) Position
Australian Kent Music Report[7] 23
Austrian Albums Chart[8] 21
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[9] 31
Dutch Albums Chart[10] 53
French SNEP Albums Chart[11] 35
Italian Albums Chart[12] 5
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[13] 13
Swedish Albums Chart[14] 16
Swiss Albums Chart[15] 23
UK Albums Chart[16] 33
U.S. Billboard 200[17] 17
West German Media Control Albums Chart[18] 55

Year-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1987) Position
Italian Albums Chart[12] 37


Region Certification Sales/shipments
France (SNEP)[19] Gold 81,800[20]
Japan (Oricon Charts) 73,000[13]
United Kingdom (BPI)[21] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

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