Somebody's Watching Me
|"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|
|Genre||Hi-NRG, Disco, Synthpop,
New Wave, R&B
|Length||4:59 (Album version)
4:00 (Single version)
3:33 (Radio version)
|Writer(s)||Kennedy "Rockwell" Gordy|
|Producer||Curtis Anthony Nolen|
|Certification||Gold+Gold (RIAA), Gold (CRIA)|
|Rockwell singles chronology|
"Somebody's Watching Me" is the debut single by R&B artist Rockwell, released on the Motown label in 1984. The song's lyrics relate the narrator's paranoid fear of being followed and watched. It featured former Motown artists Michael Jackson on the chorus and Jermaine Jackson on additional backing vocals. A clip of the song was remixed and released on Michael Jackson's Immortal album in 2011, with parts of songs such as "Is It Scary", "Threatened" and "Monster".
Original recording 
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.
Produced by Curtis Anthony Nolen, the song featured backing vocals by ex-Motown artist Michael Jackson and Alan Murray on percussion. "Somebody's Watching Me" peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984, and reached the top of the Billboard R&B singles chart, as well as reaching number six 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.
Music video 
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.
DJ BoBo version: "Somebody Dance With Me" 
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.
Beatfreakz version 
|"Somebody's Watching Me"|
|Single by Beatfreakz|
|Beatfreakz singles chronology|
In May 2006, the 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, #7 in Finland, #12 in the Dutch Top 40, #18 in France, #36 in the Belgium UltraTop 50, #45 in Australia.
- CD single
- Somebody's Watching Me [Hi_Tack Edit]
- Somebody's Watching Me [Hi_Tack Club Mix]
- Somebody's Watching Me [E-Craig's 2006 Remix]
- Somebody's Watching Me [DeNnis Christopher Remix]
- Somebody's Watching Me [Ian Carey Club Mix]
Other cover versions 
- Jamaican dancehall group T.O.K. covered the song for their 2001 album My Crew, My Dawgs as a hidden track.
- A cover of the song by Morris Day (lead singer of The Time) was included on The Haunted Mansion: Haunted Hits, the soundtrack album for the 2003 Walt Disney Pictures film The Haunted Mansion.
- Finnish power metal band Warmen included a cover of the song on their 2005 album Accept the Fact. Their version featured melodic death metal singer Alexi Laiho.
- Florida alternative band Presence recorded a cover of the song in 2006.
- Danish industrial metal band Raunchy covered the song for their 2008 album Wasteland Discotheque.
- Electro music/hip hop artist/dj/producers, Mysto & Pizzi, recorded a cover of the song for a series of Geico television commercials. Unlike in the original Rockwell version, in which the verses were rapped, Mysto & Pizzi's version is sung through the entire song.
- TRU incorporated the lyrics and main melody of the chorus into their 1997 single "I Always Feel Like (Somebody's Watching Me)".
- Christian pop artist tobyMac sampled the chorus for his song "Somebody's Watching" from his 2001 album Momentum.
- 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.
- 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 
- 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, 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 was featured in Ellen's Halloween dance mix.
See also 
- Somebody's Watching Me. Hollywood, California: Motown Records. 1984.
- Gordy Singleton, Raynoma (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."
- Cheryl Higginson (1984-05-01). "Rockwell Rockets Up The Popular Charts". Luddington Daily News.
- "GEICO - The Remake of Somebody's Watching Me...". 2009-01-27.
- Parpis, Elefteria (2008-12-05). "'Kash' Debuts for Geico". Adweek (Nielsen Business Media). Retrieved 2008-12-19.