Somebody's Watching Me
by Rockwell (featuring Michael Jackson)

Album: Somebody's Watching Me (1984)
Charted: 6 2
  • Rockwell is Kennedy Gordy, son of Motown founder Berry Gordy from a relationship with Margaret Norton. Kennedy wrote the song and 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 "Somebody's Watching Me," 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brian - Edmonton, Canada
  • Along with "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men At Work, this is one of the great comedic paranoia songs of the '80s. In the song, Rockwell is just a regular guy, but he's convinced people are out to get him, as if he's the real-life subject of a Twilight Zone episode. It would be scary stuff, but he sings it in an ersatz Boris Karloff voice, making it clear it's all good fun.
  • 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.
  • This was on the charts at the same time as "Thriller," which was the last single from Michael Jackson's famous album; both songs peaked in the US ("Thriller" at #4, "Somebody's Watching Me" at #2) in March 1984. By that time, Jackson had been saturating the airwaves for over a year, but he was still red hot. Rockwell used him brilliantly, with Jackson carrying the chorus with just one line suited to his voice: "I always feel like somebody's watching me."
  • The video was directed by Francis Delia, who also did Weird Al Yankovic's "I Lost on Jeopardy" and Starship's "Sara." In the video, Rockwell's visions get more and more real as his fears close in on him. By the end, even the mailman is out to get him.
  • Rockwell's next single was "Obscene Phone Caller," another synth-heavy song where he's tormented, this time by someone who keeps calling. It went to #35 US, followed by "He's A Cobra" at #108.
  • Along with "Miss You," "In The Air Tonight" and "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," this was one of the songs used in the first episode of the TV series Miami Vice, which used lots of popular music throughout it's five-season run from 1984-1989.

    "Somebody's Watching Me" also appears in the 2008 movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan.
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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."
  • 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, even after Michael Jackson's unexpected death.

Comments: 13

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenThis song is sort of catchy, but without Jackson doing the chorus, it wouldn't have made a ripple. Jackson was, by far, the hottest ticket in the world at that time and seriously, a recording of him singing a page from a phone book would have charted then. Of course, Rockwell also got a minor hit from "Obscene Phone Caller" a little while later, but without MJ's voice on this song, no one would ever have heard of him.
  • Steve from Grand Island , NeIt was featured in the pilot episode of the hit 1980s TV show, Miami Vice.
  • Wendy from Elizabeth City, NcThis song is timeless.
  • Bearnie from Walnut Grove,stalkers!! lol
  • Brad from Barry, TxThe re-mix in the Geico commercial is by Mysto & Pizzi.
  • Robert from Zanesville, OhDisco Nights Vol. 8: Dance Floor Hits
    contains this classic 80's hit.
    Love the paranoid themes and the vintage 80's keyboards!
    Not a bad Halloween song either.
  • Michael from San Diego, CaGreat video, lots of weird images in it. Having Michael Jackson sing back-up for you, especially during the height of his "Thriller" fame can't really hurt your chances either. I've always liked the tune, it reminds me of a special time in my life.
  • Jay from Mom, CtHonestly, the only reason this song was so famous is because Michael Jackson's amazing take on the chorus of this song. Oherwise, the lyrics are cheesy.
  • Dali from Dallas, TxA lot of people say that the only reason the song became a success was the fact that Michael Jackson sang backup vocals. Since Michael Jackson was really big at the time, he was the one that did the song justice. To be honest, it a cheesy song but I like it.
  • Michael from Hayward, CaTru with Master P did a version of this song on albumn 'Tru 2 da Game(1997)'. The instrumentals in the backround sound similar to the original, the chours reads "I always feel like, somebody's watchin me"<-which is sang and then this part is said fast->"I'm paranoid I can't sleep I'm in the dope game,I think these hoes and these niggaz out to get me mayn". I don't care for it but thought it was funny they bit off an older pop song.
  • Simon from Brighton, EnglandIt's on a CD called "Motown 40 Forever" released in 1998 if you're after it on CD.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InI always liked this tune. Every so often it gets radio play on a station. I have never been able to find it on a CD though. It was a cheesy video, but fun none the less.
  • Axel Titus from Lake Forest, CaRockwell had another US hit with "Obscene Phone Caller," so he is not really a one-hit wonder.
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