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Rockwell is Kennedy Gordy, son of Motown founder Berry Gordy from a relationship with Margaret Norton. Kennedy put the demo together with the help of a Motown producer named Curtis Nolen. Berry Gordy didn't have much faith in his son as a recording artist, but when he heard this, he knew it was a hit and agreed to release it.
Michael Jackson sang backup. Rockwell's sister Hazel was married to Jackson's brother Jermaine. Michael Jackson was at the height of his powers, and Rockwell knew he could get the song released if he could convince Michael to sing on it. (thanks, Brian - Edmonton, Canada)
The Motown brain trust came up with the name "Rockwell." Prince and Madonna were doing very well using one name, and inspiration struck when someone saw a photo of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Christian rapper Toby Mac (real name: Toby McKeegan) of the band DC Talk sampled this for his song "Somebody's Watching." In this case, it referred to God, who Toby believed was constantly looking out for him. Joanna Valencia sang backup vocals. Toby Mac also sampled the Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth
" for his song "What's Goin' Down?," both of which appear on the album Momentum
. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
In 2006 Beatfreakz, a duo from Holland, reached #3 in the UK with a dance version of this song that also topped the charts in Spain. The video was a parody of Michael Jackson's "Thriller
." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
This was used in commercials for Geico insurance in 2008. The ads showed stacks of money with googly eyes staring at people who might save money on their car insurance. This song played whenever the money was nearby. The spots were very successful and ran well into 2009 and Michael Jackson's unexpected death.
The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.
Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds
The Yardbirds drummer explains how they created their sound and talks about working with their famous guitarists.
Van Dyke Parks
U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.