Somebody's Watching Me

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"Somebody's Watching Me"
Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell US 12-inch.jpg
Side-A label of US 12-inch vinyl single
Single by Rockwell
from the album Somebody's Watching Me
B-side "Somebody's Watching Me (Instrumental)"
Released January 14, 1984
Format
Genre Synth-funk[1]
Length 4:59 (Album version)
4:00 (Single version)
3:33 (Radio version)
Label Motown M 1702
Songwriter(s) Kennedy "Rockwell" Gordy
Producer(s)
  • Curtis Anthony Nolen
  • Rockwell
Rockwell singles chronology
"Somebody's Watching Me"
(1984)
"Obscene Phone Caller"
(1984)
Music video
"Somebody's Watching Me" on YouTube

"Somebody's Watching Me" is a song recorded by American singer Rockwell, released by the Motown label on January 14, 1984, as the lead single from his debut studio album of the same name. Rockwell's debut single release, the song features guest vocals by brothers Michael Jackson (in the chorus) and Jermaine Jackson (additional backing vocals).[2]

"Somebody's Watching Me" became a major commercial success internationally, topping the charts in Belgium, France and Spain, and reaching the Top 5 in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States (peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100). The song reached No. 6 in the United Kingdom, Rockwell's only Top 40 hit there.[3]

Background and composition[edit]

Rockwell is a son of Motown CEO Berry Gordy. At the time of the recording, Rockwell was estranged from his father and living with Ray Singleton, his father's ex-wife and the mother of his older half-brother, Kerry Gordy. Singleton served as executive producer on the project and would occasionally play some demo tracks to Berry. The elder Gordy was less than enthusiastic about Rockwell's music until he heard the single with a familiar voice featuring prominently on background vocals.[2][4]

"Somebody's Watching Me" was written in the key of C-sharp minor in 4
4
time
with a tempo of 124 beats per minute. The vocals span from C#4 to C#5.[5]

Produced by Curtis Anthony Nolen, the song featured backing vocals by Michael and Jermaine Jackson, with Alan Murray on percussion.[2][6]

Music video[edit]

The music video to "Somebody's Watching Me" (which uses the radio edit instead of the album version) underscores the song's paranoid tone with a haunted house-inspired theme, including imagery of floating heads, ravens, graveyards, and shower scenes referencing Psycho.

Plot[edit]

The video opens with Rockwell coming home to discover that a newspaper in Chinese has been delivered to his doorstep. As he takes a quick shower, he begins to have strange visions (in a manner recalling The Dead Zone) of himself being pursued around his house by assorted ghoulish appartions, of the looming figure of a cadaverous-looking man, and of finding a tombstone engraved with his own name. His shower is interrupted when he hears something outside and goes out on his balcony to investigate. He is shocked to see the man from his visions standing at his gate, but as he struggles to get a better look in spite of the sun in his face he is greatly relieved to see that he is merely a mailman, coming to deliver the correct newspaper. As the mailman walks up the path towards the front porch, however, a brief close-up of his arm reveals that he is, in fact, a zombie. Rockwell emerges onto the porch to receive the paper, which the mailman genially hands over. As the mailman brings his other arm around to strike, Rockwell has just enough time to notice that he is not human.

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.

Charts and certifications[edit]

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 reached No. 1 in Sweden and Switzerland, and the Top 5 in Austria, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. 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 on the Swiss Hitparade, reaching No. 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"
1 betafrez.jpg
Single by Beatfreakz
Released 2006
Format CD single
Length 2:48
Songwriter(s) Kennedy "Rockwell" Gordy
Producer(s) Beatfreakz
Beatfreakz singles chronology
"Somebody's Watching Me"
(2006)
"Superfreak"
(2006)
Music video
"Somebody's Watching Me" on YouTube

In 2006, Dutch dance group Beatfreakz recorded a pseudo-cover of the song which sampled the chorus but omitted the verses. This version was a Top 10 hit in Belgium, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

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)[38] 38
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[39] 6
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[40] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Dance Flanders)[41] 17
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Dance Wallonia)[42] 17
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[43] 28
France (SNEP)[44] 18
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[45] 7
Germany (Official German Charts)[46] 41
Ireland (IRMA)[47] 5
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[48] 12
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[49] 21
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[50] 7
Romania (Romanian Top 100)[51] 28
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[52] 65
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[53] 3

Other cover versions[edit]

  • Electro/hip hop artist/DJ/producers, Mysto & Pizzi, recorded a cover of the song for a series of GEICO television commercials.[54]

Sampling[edit]

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • 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,[58] 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Rockwell – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved October 18, 2014. Son of Berry Gordy who scored a number two Hot 100 hit with the 1983 synth-funk single "Somebody's Watching Me." 
  2. ^ a b c Somebody's Watching Me (Media notes). Rockwell. Hollywood, California: Motown Records. 1984. 
  3. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  4. ^ Gordy Singleton, Raynoma (1990). "Super Three". Berry, Me and Motown (1st 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. ^ "Somebody's Watching Me By Rockwell – Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes. Retrieved February 28, 2017. 
  6. ^ Higginson, Cheryl (May 1, 1984). "Rockwell Rockets Up The Popular Charts". Luddington Daily News. 
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  8. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6316." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  11. ^ "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 80's" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Somebody's Watching Me". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  14. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1984" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  17. ^ "Charts.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. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969–1989 Acts (R)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  20. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  21. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". Singles Top 100. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  22. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  23. ^ "Rockwell Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  24. ^ "Rockwell Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  25. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MARCH 24, 1984". Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. . Cash Box.
  26. ^ a b "BB-1984-03-10" (PDF). Billboard. March 10, 1984. pp. 22, 57. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1984". RPM. Vol. 41 no. 17. January 5, 1985. Retrieved May 26, 2018. 
  29. ^ "TOP – 1984" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Jahrescharts – 1984" (in German). Offiziellecharts.de. GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1984" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b "BB-1984-12-22" (PDF). Billboard. December 22, 1984. pp. 14, TA–19, TA–21. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  34. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1984". Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. . Cash Box.
  35. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". Music Canada. 
  36. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes Tout Temps de 45 T. / Singles" (in French). InfoDisc. Archived from the original on December 16, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  37. ^ a b "American single certifications – Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  38. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  39. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  40. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  41. ^ "ultratop.be – 50 DANCE 03/06/2006" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  42. ^ "ultratop.be – 50 DANCE 03/06/2006" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  44. ^ "Lescharts.com – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  45. ^ "Beatfreakz: Somebody's Watching Me" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  46. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  47. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Somebodys Watching Me". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  48. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Beatfreakz - Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  49. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  50. ^ "Charts.nz – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  51. ^ (in Romanian) "Issue nr: 23/2006 (12 Iunie – 18 Iunie 2006)". Archived from the original on June 13, 2006. . see last week position. Romanian Top 100.
  52. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Beatfreakz – Somebody's Watching Me". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  53. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  54. ^ "GEICO – The Remake of Somebody's Watching Me..." January 27, 2009. 
  55. ^ "TRU's I Always Feel Like... sample of Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson's Somebody's Watching Me". WhoSampled. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  56. ^ Jean (July 29, 2015). "Isleym : Premier album 'Où ça nous mène' en 2014". Evous (in French). Retrieved March 5, 2016. 
  57. ^ Kennedy, John R (December 29, 2016). "Virginia to Vegas Channels Rockwell In 'Lights Out'". iHeartRadio. Retrieved January 4, 2018. 
  58. ^ Parpis, Elefteria (December 25, 2008). "Kash Debuts for Geico". Adweek. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 

External links[edit]