Is Rockwell Still This Paranoid?

'80s anxiety in this week's Forgotten Videos
  • Rockwell in "Somebody's Watching Me"
July 22, 2010 -- 5:42 am PDT
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. Well, for some forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or, we'll be giving a fresh look at a video that deserves to be collecting dust. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

 

Rockwell f/Michael Jackson

"Somebody's Watching Me"
1984

In 1984 Kennedy Gordy, aka Rockwell, had the year's biggest paranoid-themed hit with this song and video inspired in equal parts by "Thriller" and Psycho, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and scoring a No. 1 R&B hit. If the name sounds familiar, Gordy is the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. (though no apparent relation to John F. Kennedy), which, ummm, may have factored in to his landing Michael Jackson to sing the chorus during the King of Pop's hottest streak in the midst of his Thriller success. (For the record, the story has always been that Rockwell signed to Motown without his father's knowledge.) The video raised the not-so-enduring question: Did Gordy always shower with his shorts on? Perhaps the question was quickly moot. By the time of his follow-up single, the talking verse and über-paranoia shtick had already run its course as "Obscene Phone Caller" stalled at No. 35, Rockwell's last charted record. (In the "cryptic but probably not actually interesting" category, we'd love to know if anyone can translate the characters on the newspaper at the video's opening for us.)


Bring back great memories, or recurring headaches? Got a recommendation? Leave us a comment.

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