Rockwell (musician)

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Rockwell
Birth nameKennedy William Gordy
Also known asKenneth Gordy
Born (1964-03-15) March 15, 1964 (age 58)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer
Years active
  • 1971–1986
  • 2018–present
LabelsMotown

Kennedy William Gordy[1] (born March 15, 1964),[2] better known by his stage name Rockwell, is an American singer. He is most well known for his hit 1984 single "Somebody's Watching Me" which features Michael Jackson on the chorus vocals.[3] He is the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy.[1][3][4] Other relatives include singers Redfoo, Rhonda Ross Kendrick, and Sky Blu; they are his half-siblings and half-nephew, respectively.

Early life[edit]

Kennedy William Gordy is the son of Motown founder and CEO Berry Gordy and Margaret Norton. His father named him Kennedy William after John F. Kennedy and William "Smokey" Robinson.[5]

Career[edit]

To avoid the appearance of nepotism, he secured his record deal without his father's knowledge.[1] Motown actually came up with the name Rockwell and the young Gordy agreed to the change because he believed he "rocked well."

In 1984, Rockwell had his biggest single, "Somebody's Watching Me", with childhood friend Michael Jackson singing the chorus lyrics and Jermaine Jackson singing backup.[1][3] "Somebody's Watching Me" became a Gold-certified[3] #2 song in the US, which also peaked at #6 in the UK.[6] It held #1 on Billboard's R&B chart for five weeks. Follow-up singles underperformed, with "Obscene Phone Caller" being Rockwell's only other Top 40 single. It reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7] Rockwell released two more albums before ending his musical career with Motown.

Rockwell was not the first member of the Gordy family to hit Billboard's Hot 100 as a recording artist. His uncle, Robert Gordy, reached the longer reaches of the chart in 1958 with "Everyone Was There", recording under the name of Bob Kayli.[citation needed]

In late 2021, "Somebody's Watching Me" re-entered the UK Charts, peaking at #47.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Rockwell is the son of Berry Gordy. Rockwell's paternal half-sister is actress Rhonda Ross Kendrick, the eldest child of Diana Ross, the latter of whom is of no relation to Rockwell.

Rockwell is also closely related to the group LMFAO through his half-brother Redfoo (Stephen Kendal Gordy, son of Berry Gordy and Nancy Leiviska) and his half-nephew Sky Blu (Skyler Austen Gordy, son of his half-brother Berry Gordy IV and his wife Valerie Robeson).[citation needed]

In July 2010, Rockwell married Nicole Moore. In 2013, he filed for divorce. The couple have no children together.[8]

On November 29, 2018, Rockwell was arrested in Hollywood for allegedly beating a female associate with a chair at the Magic Castle Hotel after she approached him and demanded payment. Rockwell was released from jail on December 1, 2018, on a $30,000 bail. On January 7, 2019, the woman, who suffered multiple injuries from the attack and had undergone surgery to repair a broken arm, filed a lawsuit against Rockwell in Los Angeles for personal injury, claiming damages exceeding $25,000.[9]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
US
[7]
US R&B
[7]
AUS
[10]
CAN
[11]
UK
[6]
Somebody's Watching Me 15 5 99 34 52
Captured
  • Release date: January 15, 1985
  • Label: Motown Records
120 52
The Genie
  • Release date: 1986
  • Label: Motown Records
59
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[7]
US R&B
[7]
US Dan
[7]
AUS
[10]
AUT
[13]
CAN
[14]
NZ
[15]
SWI
[16]
UK
[6]
"Somebody's Watching Me" 1984 2 1 3 12 14 2 5 3 6 Somebody's Watching Me
"Obscene Phone Caller" 35 9 79
"Taxman" 88
"Knife"
"He's a Cobra" 1985 108 65 Captured
"Peeping Tom" 21
"Tokyo"
"Carmé" 1986 46 The Genie
"Grow-Up!"
"Somebody's Watching Me" (UK re-entry) 2021 47 Somebody's Watching Me
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1971 The Doris Day Show Young Boy Television sitcom
1978 Bloodbrothers Tyrone Feature film
1984 Somebody's Watching Me Himself Music video
Obscene Phone Caller
Superstar
1985 Peeping Tom
Soul Train
1986 American Bandstand
2018 The Craig Caddell Show
2022 FITUMI: Fake It til U Make It Man at table Upcoming feature film

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "Artist Biography". AllMusic.
  2. ^ Mossman, Jennifer (2000). Almanac of Famous People (7th ed.). Gale Group. p. 1636. ISBN 9780787647926.
  3. ^ a b c d Newman, Jason. "How Rockwell Created Paranoid Pop Classic 'Somebody's Watching Me'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Holden, Stephen (April 1, 1984). "It Takes Star Quality to Share the Jackson Limelight". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  5. ^ Gordy, Berry (1994). "Survival of the Fittest: 1960–1964". To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown. New York: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0-7472-1417-4.
  6. ^ a b c d "Rockwell - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Rockwell > Charts & Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on February 24, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  8. ^ "R&B Singer Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me ... Divorce My Wife". TMZ.com. EHM Productions, Inc. June 29, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  9. ^ Trock, Gary; Walters, Liz (January 7, 2019). "Berry Gordy's Son, Rockwell, Was Arrested for Allegedly Beating Woman With a Chair During Brutal Attack". The Blast. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 254. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada: Top Albums/CDs". RPM. Archived from the original on September 7, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  12. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – July 25, 2010: Rockwell certified albums". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  13. ^ "austriancharts.at – Austria Top 40". austriancharts.at. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  14. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada: Top Singles". RPM. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  15. ^ "charts.nz – New Zealand charts portal". charts.nz. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  16. ^ "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". hitparade.ch. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  17. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – July 25, 2010: Rockwell certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2010.

External links[edit]