R&B singer Rockwell had a #1 single in 1983 with ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ and then quickly faded away into oblivion. The biggest and perhaps only reason the song was a hit was because the legendary Michael Jackson sang the chorus and background vocals on the hit song.
But why did Jackson appear on the single? Sure he did duets with Paul McCartney and his sister Janet Jackson over the course of his career, but Rockwell would have been a musical nobody without Jacko’s vocal charity.
Well there was three reasons why Michael sang the chorus on ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’.
- Rockwell’s real name is Kennedy William Gordy. Therefore his father is Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. Gordy gave Michael and the Jackson 5 their big start with Motown in 1968. So Micheal likely felt like he was repaying a debt to Gordy.
- Rockwell’s had an older sister Hazel Gordy. Hazel was married to Michael’s older brother Jermaine Jackson. Jermaine and Hazel were married from 1973-1987. Rockwell’s hit song was released during this time in 1983.
- Michael might not have had much of a childhood, but having been around Motown USA recording as a young child he became friends with Kennedy ‘Rockwell’ Gordy.
The chorus for the song is almost so famous that many people over the years have mistaken the song to be one of Jackson’s own. It is more than safe to say, that without Jackson’s backing vocals, this song would have never landed on Billboard’s #1 spot.
If you look at the album cover above you will notice Rockwell is wearing a single black glove in an obvious tribute/copycat of Jackson.
Watch the video of Rockwell’s ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ Below:
The remix of the song has also been featured in Geico commericals. Rockwell did break into the U.S. Top 100 again in 1984 with ‘Obscene Phone Caller’ that ended up at #35 on the chart.