Official Charts Pop Gem #81: Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me

We go back to the ‘80s for our Halloween special with this brilliantly spooky one-hit wonder, and a superstar on backing vocals.

Official Charts Pop Gem #81: Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me

It’s Halloween weekend! And what better way to celebrate the super-spooky time of the witching hour than to get you guys nominating your favourite Halloween-themed song for Pop Gem?

It could be scary, spooky, a bit creepy, kinda nuts – whatever. As long as it was on the dark side and wouldn't feel out of place at a Halloween bash then it was in!

Here are the 10 we picked for our shortlist. Did you back a winner?

The final 10

ARTIST TRACK PEAK POSITION YEAR
RIHANNA DISTURBIA 3 2008
THE AUTOMATIC MONSTER 4 2006
ALLSTARS THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT 12 2001
NICK CAVE & KYLIE MINOGUE WHERE THE WILD ROSES GROW 11 1995
SHAKESPEAR'S SISTER STAY 1 1992
SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES PEEK-A-BOO 16 1988
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN PEOPLE ARE STRANGE 29 1988
EIGHTH WONDER I'M NOT SCARED 7 1988
ROCKWELL SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME 6 1984
BOBBY 'BORIS' PICKETT & THE CRYPT-KICKERS MONSTER MASH 3 1973

And after all that, who did we go for? Well, the title of the page is probably a bit of a giveaway, but we decided Rockwell’s creepy, but amazing, banger about stalking was the one to go for. Watch the video for Somebody’s Watching Me before we explain Rockwell rocked our world…

Why it had to be Rockwell

Rockwell – or Kennedy Gordy to his mum and dad – came from music biz royalty. His dad was legendary Motown boss Berry Gordy. Not wanting to make his name just because of who his dad was, young Kennedy sneaked behind his pop’s back to secure his first recording contract.

Out of all the songs on our shortlist, we reckon Rockwell deserved the honour the most. He never had another hit in the UK, and his song can be danced to just about any time of the year and still sounds pretty fresh today. This isn’t the kind of track you throw out with the empty bottles the morning after your Halloween shindig.

The song

Somebody’s Watching Me had more than a helping hands when it came to greatness, especially as it featured one of the biggest popstars of all time in an uncredited role.

You don’t have to listen too carefully to hear the King Of Pop Michael Jackson lending his considerable vocal chops to the chorus, and his brother Jermaine threw his own pipes into the mix, too. Back in 1984, Michael may have been midway through his Thriller album campaign, but it was no bother for him to help out his pal Rockwell on his debut hit – and he didn’t even ask for a feature credit!

Somebody’s Watching Me peaked at Number 6 on the Official Singles Chart – the Top 10 that week looked a little something like this:

1 99 RED BALLOONS NENA
2 RELAX FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
3 JOANNA/TONIGHT KOOL AND THE GANG
4 WOULDN'T IT BE GOOD NIK KERSHAW
5 DOCTOR DOCTOR THOMPSON TWINS
6 SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME ROCKWELL
7 RADIO GA GA QUEEN
8 AN INNOCENT MAN BILLY JOEL
9 MY EVER CHANGING MOODS STYLE COUNCIL
10 RUN RUNAWAY RUN RUNAWAY

© 2014 The Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

See the full Top 40 from that week

The song was a hit again in 2006, for dance outfit Beatfreakz. As can sometimes be the case, this reswizzle actually outcharted the original version, peaking at Number 3. Beatfreakz managed what Rockwell could not – they scored another Top 10 hit with Superfreak, reachign Number 7.

Cover versions that charted higher than the original…

Rockwell’s chart story

Apart from Somebody’s Watching Me, there’s no more Official Singles Chart action for Rockwell – and his debut album missed the Official Albums Chart Top 40 too.

He does have some connections to other chart artists, though. His half-sister’s mum is none other than Diana Ross, and his half-brother has scored six Top 40 hits, including two Number 1s. And who is this half-bro? Why it’s only Redfoo from LMFAO. We know they’re not their real names, but as stage names go, Rockwell and Redfoo are pretty unbeatable.

Rockwell – you may have only had one hit, but it’s a pretty good one. Welcome to the Pop Gem Hall Of Fame!

Pop Gem Hall Of Fame

Today's Pop Gem is the latest in a long line of amazing pop songs that have been inducted into our Pop Gem Hall Of Fame. Take a look at all the tracks who've received the honour so far

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