Somebody's Watching Me (album)
|Somebody's Watching Me|
|Studio album by Rockwell|
|Released||January 30, 1984|
|Genre||Hi-NRG, synthpop, new wave, R&B|
|Producer||Curtis Anthony Nolen|
Somebody's Watching Me is singer/songwriter Rockwell's debut album, released in 1984 on Motown Records. It featured the song, "Somebody's Watching Me" (with Michael Jackson on vocals in the chorus), as well as the minor hit "Obscene Phone Caller".
After being kicked out of the house by his father, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Kennedy Gordy moved in with Ray Singleton, Gordy's ex-wife. While living there, the younger Gordy began working on some music. Seeing the youngster's potential, Singleton successfully lobbied to get Kennedy a staff writing job at Jobete.
One night, Singleton overheard Kennedy working on the track, "Somebody's Watching Me" and believed it was a song worthy of recording. When Motown staff producer Curtis Anthony Nolen took an interest in the song, he was hired as the producer on the project. While working on the song in the studio, Kennedy got the idea to get Michael Jackson to sing on the track. Without indicating his plans, Kennedy picked Jackson up and drove him into the studio. Once Jackson was in the studio, Kennedy asked him to record the chorus with him. Jackson agreed.
Once the track was mixed, Singleton couldn't wait to play it for Berry Gordy, who thought one of the voices sounded familiar, but couldn't identify it. When Gordy found out it was Michael Jackson, he was elated.
Not wanting the Gordy name to influence the outcome of the song (his half-brother Kerry Gordy, recorded under his own name five years earlier without success), Kennedy decided to use the name Rockwell on the record. The title cut was one of the biggest singles of 1984 and both the album and single were certified Gold. It was easily the most successful record by a Gordy as a recording artist. Rockwell now gained an exalted position among the Gordy offspring.
Allmusic's Rick A. Bueche called the record "an impressive debut set with an emphasis on rock instrumentals."
- "Somebody's Watching Me" (Rockwell) 4:59
- "Obscene Phone Caller" (Rockwell) 3:29
- "Taxman" (George Harrison) 3:59
- "Change Your Ways" (Norman Dozier, Curtis Anthony Nolen, Rockwell) 4:25
- "Runaway" (Dozier, Nolen, Rockwell) 4:23
- "Wasting Away" (Dozier, Nolen, Rockwell) 3:56
- "Knife" (Mitchell Bottler, Norma Helms, Rockwell) 5:07
- "Foreign Country" (Dozier, Nolen, Rockwell) 6:05
An uptempo version of "Knife" was released by another Motown artist, Monalisa Young. She also appears on this album as a background vocalist.
- Producer: Curtis Anthony Nolen for Super Three Productions
- Recorded at: Mars Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California
- Recording Engineers: Arne Frager, Joe Q. Hall, Scott Skidmore, Booker T. Jones III
- Mixed by: Arne Frager, Curtis Anthony Nolen, Rockwell, Joe Q. Hall, Steve Smith
- Mastering Engineer: John Matousek
- Art Direction: Johnny Lee
- Design: Janet Levinson
- Visual Consultant: Nancy Leiviska
- Executive Producer: Ray Singleton
- Drums, Percussion: Ricky Lawson, Phillip Madayag, Rockwell, Anthony Santosusso
- Bass: Dave Cochran
- Guitars: Nicholas Brown, Thomas J. Parker
- Keyboards, Synthesizers: Norman Dozier, Russell Ferrante, Jim Foeber, Gregg Karukas, Michael Lang, Rockwell, Anthony Santosusso, Randy Waldman
- Backing Vocals: Teri DeSario, Oma Drake, Marva Holcolm, Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson, Lyndie White, Monalisa Young, Terry Young
- Gordy Singleton, Raynoma (1990). "Super Three". Berry, Me and Motown (First ed.). Chicago: Contemporary Books. pp. 297–299. ISBN 0-8092-4340-7.
Over the first year of its release, Rockwell became--in his father's eyes and in a dramatic reversal--the Winner, gaining an exalted position among the Gordy offspring.