Chart Performance: Pop (#2), R&B (#1 for 5 weeks) and Dance (#3); 1984
Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne
Sometimes family connections work for you; sometimes against. Kennedy Gordy’s dad, Berry, owned Motown Records, but wasn’t interested in his son’s song, Somebody’s Watching Me. Fortunately, staff producer Curtis Anthony Nolan was. Kennedy and Nolan put together a demo in Nolan’s home studio and used it to squeeze some money out of Motown for a real recording. Next they wanted a famous voice for the chorus. Enter Kennedy’s sister, Hazel, who was married to Michael Jackson’s brother, Jermaine. When Kennedy and Curtis played the demo for Michael, and indicated where they wanted him to sing, the gloved one flipped over it. Back in the studio, Michael laid down his part in just over an hour. Kennedy and Curtis delivered the finished tape to Berry Gordy, who felt it would do well at pop radio but not R&B. Released under the name “Rockwell” – after painter Norman Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me defied Berry’s instincts by topping the R&B chart.
This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.
- Curtis Anthony Nolen
Lyrics Written by:
- Kennedy “Rockwell” Gordy