Monday, November 22, 2010

Today In Oldies 10/22/2010

Golden Hits Radio & GHR-2's Everything, fresh Oldies news!
Where In The World Is.........Rockwell? 

For the first time, we present a subject for "Where In The World Is _________?" that, frankly, we cannot find.  As long as the Web exists, however, there will be conspiracy theories, and nearly two years ago, the death of one of the biggest names in music history has made Rockwell a central character in one of those theories.  He has also had something of a career rebirth with his one hit being featured in an omnipresent series of U.S. TV commercials.

Born in Detroit, Michigan on March 15, 1964, Rockwell's surname is instantly recognizable to even the most casual music fan.  He was born Kennedy William Gordy, son of one of music's biggest names, Motown founder and President Berry Gordy.  Being born into a musical family was both a blessing and a curse for Kennedy Gordy.  Any attempt at musical success on his own, and under his own name, would most likely have been scrutinized by both media and fans as nepotism.  Some sources indicate that Kennedy Gordy ended up on his father's record label unbeknownst to Berry Gordy himself.  While nepotism might not have landed Kennedy Gordy his Motown deal, his friends in high places helped guarantee his first single would be an unforgettable smash.

Kennedy Gordy became Rockwell upon signing with Motown, with the thought process from the label being that single-named artists were owning the charts at the time (Prince, Madonna, etc.).  In 1984, it was becoming more and more difficult for Motown to break a new artist on the pop charts, so for Rockwell's debut album and first single, a little something extra was needed, so the music's biggest gun at the time was brought in to lend a hand.  While we'll never know if that first single, "Somebody's Watching Me", would have been a hit with Rockwell himself singing the very catchy chorus, having none other than Michael Jackson cover those duties was an iron clad guarantee of a smash.  "Somebody's Watching Me" was something of a Jackson family affair, with Jermaine Jackson (married to Kennedy Gordy's sister, Hazel, at the time) also providing backup vocals.  The song was an international smash, hitting #2 in the U.S. and going Top 5 in Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the UK.  With an accompanying music video in heavy rotation on MTV, it looked like Kennedy Gordy might become a superstar and escape his father's very long shadow.

One hit didn't bring anymore for Rockwell.  While he escaped one hit wonder status with a follow up Top 40 hit, "Obscene Phone Caller", he never came close to denting the charts again.  After two more albums for Motown, his time making music was done.  What happens next is something of a mystery.

While not a single source, including Rockwell himself, can account for his whereabouts and what he has been up to the past 26 years, his one hit has experienced a major rebirth.  "Somebody's Watching Me" has been covered dozens of times, but it became a classic all over again with its use in a series of U.S. TV commercials for Geico car insurance.  While you might think the royalties he enjoyed from the placement in the Geico ads were enough for him to retire, you might be mistaken.  According to this article in the New York Post, he probably didn't see a dime since someone else performed and sang the remake for the commercial.  His last known musical output is a 2008 single entitled "Flammable".

The death of Michael Jackson in 2009 put Rockwell back in the spotlight in a way we're not sure he anticipated.  While we certainly advise you to take these links with a grain of salt, there are internet blogs and message boards who theorize that MJ faked his death in the 90's and Rockwell became "Michael Jackson" in his absence.  This theory is also discussed here.  Once again, we don't subscribe to these theories.  We're merely the messenger.

Somebody was indeed watching Rockwell in 1984.  It was you and me!............

Golden Hits Radio and GHR-2's Burning Question of the Day

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, who is the best selling duo of all time in the U.S.?

Check back tomorrow @ Everything Oldies for the answer, and leave a Comment here with your best guess! 

Yesterday's Burning Question (and Answer) of the Day

Which act had the most Top 10 singles in the U.S. in the 80's?

Answer: Two very obvious answers would have been Michael Jackson and Madonna.  Great guesses, but not correct.  It was.........Prince, with 14 Top 10 singles in the 80's!

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