Somebody's Watching Me

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"Somebody's Watching Me"
Single by Rockwell
from the album Somebody's Watching Me
B-side "Somebody's Watching Me (Instrumental)"
Released January 14, 1984
Format 7" single, cassette single
Recorded 1983
Genre Rhythm and blues,[1] synthpop,[2] new wave
Length 4:59 (Album version)
4:00 (Single version)
3:33 (Radio version)
Label Motown
M 1702
Writer(s) Kennedy "Rockwell" Gordy
Producer(s) Curtis Anthony Nolen
Certification Gold+Gold (RIAA), Gold (CRIA)
Rockwell singles chronology
"Somebody's Watching Me"
(1984)
"Obscene Phone Caller"
(1984)
Alternative covers
French 7-Inch single cover

"Somebody's Watching Me" is the debut single by R&B artist Rockwell, released on the Motown label in 1984. It featured former Motown artists Michael Jackson on the chorus and Jermaine Jackson on additional backing vocals.[3]

Original recording[edit]

Rockwell is the son of Motown CEO Berry Gordy Jr. At the time of the recording Rockwell was estranged from his father and living with Ray Singleton, his father's ex-wife. Singleton served as executive producer on the project and would occasionally play some demo tracks to Berry Gordy. The elder Gordy was less than enthusiastic about Rockwell's music until he heard the single with a familiar voice featured prominently on background vocals.[3][4]

Produced by Curtis Anthony Nolen, the song featured backing vocals by ex-Motown artist Michael Jackson and Alan Murray on percussion.[3][5] "Somebody's Watching Me" peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984, and reached the top of the Billboard R&B singles chart, as well as reaching #6 on the UK Singles Chart.

Due in part to the popularity of the music video, the song is sometimes used for Halloween celebrations, with cover versions found in various collections of Halloween music.

Content[edit]

The song's lyrics relate the narrator's paranoid fear of being followed and watched.

Music video[edit]

The single's music video underscores the song's paranoid tone with a haunted house-inspired theme, including imagery of floating heads, ravens, graveyards, and shower scenes referencing the novel Psycho. The mailman who appears in the music video for "Somebody's Watching Me" also stars in the video for "Obscene Phone Caller". This was a low budget video. Music video produced by The Wolfe Company, directed by Francis Delia, cinematography by Dominic Sena, production manager: Jason Braunstein, production coordinator: Jon Leonoudakis. Leonoudakis appears in the video as the visual metaphor "watching" Rockwell through the porthole of the front door.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 10
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[7] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[8] 1
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[9] 1
Canada (RPM 50 Singles)[10] 2
France (SNEP)[11] 1
Germany (Media Control AG)[12] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 6
Italy (FIMI)[14] 14
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[15] 2
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[16] 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[18] 7
Poland (Polish Singles Chart)[19] 8
South African Chart[20] 5
Spain (AFYVE)[21] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[22] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[23] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 2
US Billboard Hot Black Singles[25] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[25] 3

DJ BoBo version: "Somebody Dance With Me"[edit]

DJ BoBo based his 1992 single "Somebody Dance with Me" on "Somebody's Watching Me" with new lyrics and rap. The DJ BoBo single peaked at #1 in Sweden and Switzerland, #3 in Austria, Netherlands and Norway, at #4 in Germany and #13 in Australia.

In 2012, a remix of the hit was made by Remady titled "Somebody Dance With Me (Remady 2013 Mix)" by DJ BoBo featuring Manu-L. Released early in 2013, it charted in Swiss Hitparade reaching #4. The mix was made on the 20th anniversary of the initial hit by DJ BoBo in November 1992.

Beatfreakz version[edit]

"Somebody's Watching Me"
Single by Beatfreakz
Released June 9, 2006
Format CD single
Genre Dance, house
Length 2:48
Producer(s) Beatfreakz
Beatfreakz singles chronology
"Somebody's Watching Me"
(2006)
"Superfreak"
(2006)

In 2006, Dutch dance group Beatfreakz recorded a pseudo-cover of the song which sampled the chorus but omitted the verses. Their version peaked at #1 in Spain, #3 in the UK Singles Chart, #3 in the German Official Dance Chart, #4 in Russia, #5 in Ireland, #7 in Finland and New Zealand, #12 in the Dutch Top 40, #18 in France, #36 in the Belgium Ultratop 50, and #38 in Australia.

Track listing[edit]

CD single
  1. Somebody's Watching Me [Hi_Tack Edit]
  2. Somebody's Watching Me [Hi_Tack Club Mix]
  3. Somebody's Watching Me [E-Craig's 2006 Remix]
  4. Somebody's Watching Me [DeNnis Christopher Remix]
  5. Somebody's Watching Me [Ian Carey Club Mix]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[26] 38
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[27] 6
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[28] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Dance Flanders)[29] 17
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Dance Wallonia)[30] 17
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[31] 28
France (SNEP)[32] 18
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[33] 7
Germany (Media Control AG)[34] 41
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 5
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[35] 12
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[36] 21
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[37] 7
Romania (Romanian Top 100)[38] 28
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[39] 65
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[40] 3

Other cover versions[edit]

Sampling[edit]

  • TRU incorporated the lyrics and main melody of the chorus into their 1997 single "I Always Feel Like (Somebody's Watching Me)".[42]
  • Jamaican dancehall group T.O.K. sampled the song with additional rap lyrics for their 2001 album My Crew, My Dawgs as a hidden track.
  • Christian pop artist tobyMac sampled the chorus for his song "Somebody's Watching" from his 2001 album Momentum.[43]
  • In 2001, French hip hop group Fonky Family sampled the song in "Art de Rue".
  • R&B artist Ciara incorporated a portion of "Somebody's Watching Me" for her 2006 hit single "Get Up".
  • Hip hop group The Pack incorporates parts of the song, including the chorus, in their single "I'm Shinin'" from their 2007 album Based Boys.[44]
  • In 2008, internet celebrity Jeffree Star used the chorus of the song in his own track "Starstruck" which features the band Danger Radio.
  • In 2009, Christian hip hop artist Andy Mineo released a song entitled "Who's Watching" (from the album "Sin Is Wack") that samples both the melody and parts of the chorus, which he altered to produce a seemingly entirely different song that encourages it's listeners to live a good life and reminds us that God's always watching.
  • For the 2011 Cirque du Soleil show Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour the background vocals from this song found their way into a medley that included "Is It Scary?", "Threatened", and "Thriller." It was released on Michael Jackson's album Immortal in 2011.
  • In Nephew's 2012 album, they sample the song in the chorus of their song "Åh Gud (Jeg Håber Du Holder Øje Med Mig)". The title literally means: Oh God (I Hope That You Are Watching Me.)

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • It was featured in the pilot episode of the hit 1980s TV show, Miami Vice.
  • The Mysto & Pizzi cover version was featured in a series of commercials for GEICO that began airing in December 2008 and throughout 2009. The campaign, created by The Martin Agency,[45] consisted of various advertisements in which people would happen upon Kash, a stack of money with googly eyes, while the song is played in the background.
  • The song was used as Number Four's ringtone in the film adaptation of I Am Number Four.
  • The song was featured in the classic skateboarding film Round 2 Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song.
  • The song was used in The Cleveland Show's series 3 episode 6 "Sex and the Biddy".
  • A remixed clip of the song is used in promotional sequences for the upcoming ABC television show, The Glass House.
  • The song appears in the Season 1 episode "Everybody Hates Playboy" of Everybody Hates Chris, as Chris and Greg plan to steal the titular magazine back from the assistant principal's office.
  • The song was featured in Ellen's Halloween dance mix.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mary E. McGroarty (1991). Languages in school and society: policy and pedagogy. Mouton de Gruyter. p. 471. ISBN 978-3110125764.  "For example, the word "paranoia" was made clear to a recent class by using the lyrics of a rhythm and blues song "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell."
  2. ^ Darwin Green (Reviews Editor). "Archive for the ‘let em riot’ Category". CWG magazine.  "In “Automatic,” Alan Oakes uses this to create a sense of dread and apathy, hearkening back to a darker side of 80s synth pop, a la Soft Cell or Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” without the silliness."
  3. ^ a b c Somebody's Watching Me (Media notes). Rockwell. Hollywood, California: Motown Records. 1984. 
  4. ^ Raynoma Gordy Singleton (1990). "Super Three". Berry, Me and Motown (First ed.). Chicago: Contemporary Books. pp. 297–299. ISBN 0-8092-4340-7. "As they finished mixing down the record, I could barely wait to rush it over and play it for Berry." 
  5. ^ Cheryl Higginson (May 1, 1984). "Rockwell Rockets Up The Popular Charts". Luddington Daily News. 
  6. ^ Craig Halstead, Chris Cadman (2003). Authors On Line Ltd, ed. Jacksons Number Ones. ISBN 978-0755200986. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  8. ^ "Ultratop.be – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  9. ^ "Somebody's Watching Me - ROCKWELL". VRT (in Dutch). Top30-2.radio2.be. Retrieved July 26, 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 1
  10. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 40, No. 5, April 07 1984". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 80". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc (in French). InfoDisc.fr. June 2, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me". Charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. Retrieved July 23, 2013. "Only one result when searching "Rockwell"/"Somedody's watching me" or "Somebodys watching me"" 
  14. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1984". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
    84. Somebody's watching me - Rockwell [#14]
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  17. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  18. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". VG-lista. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  19. ^ "SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME - Rockwell & Michael Jackson". Nowe Media, Polskie Radio S.A. LP3.polskieradio.pl. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  20. ^ John Samson. "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Acts (R)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  21. ^ Fernando Salaverri (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  22. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". Singles Top 60. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  23. ^ "Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  24. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  25. ^ a b c "Somebody's Watching Me awards at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  27. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  28. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  29. ^ "ultratop.be - 50 DANCE 03/06/2006". Ultratop (in Dutch). Ultratop and Hung Medien. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  30. ^ "ultratop.be - 50 DANCE 03/06/2006". Ultratop (in French). Ultratop and Hung Medien. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  32. ^ "Lescharts.com – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  33. ^ "Beatfreakz: Somebody's Watching Me" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  34. ^ "Beatfreakz - Somebody's Watching Me". Charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  35. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Beatfreakz - Somebody's Watching Me search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  36. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  37. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  38. ^ "Issue nr: 23/2006 (12 Iunie - 18 Iunie 2006)". Rt100.ro. Vento Consultanta SRL. Retrieved July 23, 2013.  NB : cf. last week position
  39. ^ "Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  40. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  41. ^ "GEICO - The Remake of Somebody's Watching Me...". January 27, 2009. 
  42. ^ "TRU's I Always Feel Like... sample of Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson's Somebody's Watching Me". WhoSampled.com. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  43. ^ "tobyMac feat. Joanna Valencia's Somebody's Watching sample of Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson's Somebody's Watching Me". WhoSampled.com. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  44. ^ "The Pack's I'm Shinin' sample of Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson's Somebody's Watching Me". WhoSampled.com. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  45. ^ Elefteria Parpis (December 25, 2008). "Kash Debuts for Geico". Adweek (Nielsen Business Media). Retrieved December 19, 2008. 

External links[edit]