Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rockwell

Rockwell (born Kennedy William Gordy on March 15, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan) was a R&B singer and the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

After being kicked out of the house by his father, Rockwell moved in with Berry Gordy's ex-wife Ray Singleton where he began working on music. After seeing his potential, Ray successfully lobbied to get Rockwell a staff writing job at Jobete.
In 1984, Rockwell released his debut album "Somebody's Watching Me" which peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.

One night, Ray overheard Rockwell working on the track "Somebody's Watching Me" and believed that 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, Rockwell got the idea to get his good childhood friend, the late Michael Jackson to sing on the song.

He picked up Michael and drove him to the studio without indicating his plans. Once Michael was at the studio, Rockwell asked him to record the chorus with him which he agreed to.

Once "Somebody's Watching Me" was mixed, Ray couldn't wait to play it for Berry Gordy, who though that one of the voices sounded familiar, but he couldn't identify it. When he later found out it was Michael Jackson, he was pleased.
The title song became Rockwell's only biggest hit, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play Singles chart and topped Billboard's Black Singles chart for 5 weeks, staying on the chart for 17 weeks.

Internationally, the song was a success, peaking at #6 on the U.K. Singles chart and topped the charts in Belgium, France & Spain.

The song also featured Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson on additional backing vocals. It was also one of the biggest singles of 1984 & both the single & album were certified Gold by the RIAA.
The follow-up single from Rockwell's debut album "Obscene Phone Caller" peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100, #9 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks and #79 on the U.K. Singles chart.

The last single from the album "Taxman" (which was a cover version of the Beatles' 1966 song) peaked at #88 on the U.K. Singles chart.
In 1985, Rockwell released his sophomore album "Captured" which peaked at #120 on the Billboard 200 chart and #52 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single from the album "He's a Cobra" peaked at #108 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and #65 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 6 weeks.
The follow-up single from the album "Peeping Tom" peaked at #21 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart (along with the song "Tokyo"). The song was featured on the movie soundtrack to "The Last Dragon."
In 1986, Rockwell released his last album to date "Genie" which failed to make the Billboard album charts at all.
The only single to chart was "Carmé" which managed to peak at #46 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 9 weeks.

After that, it seemed as if Rockwell faded into obscurity, but in 2010, he married Nicole Moore, but in 2013, he filed for divorce due to "irreconcilable differences" and asked not to pay spousal support.

To see the music video for "Somebody's Watching Me," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YvAYIJSSZY

To see the music video for "Obscene Phone Caller," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HdOqhjuph8

To see a fan-made video for "Taxman," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aMb-l1i-u0

To see a fan-made video for "He's a Cobra," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXGiUPQEwws

To see a fan-made video for "Carme," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvMMky45eaY

[updated on 03\08\14]

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