Saturday, July 28, 2007

Funny Thing About Rockwell

I've been thinking about the musician Rockwell's Wikipedia entry today.
Rockwell is the son of Motown founder and CEO Berry Gordy. To avoid charges of nepotism, Rockwell secured his record deal without his father's knowledge.
Okay, good for Rockwell. He did it on his own (it is rather amusing that he was signed by his dad's label without his dad knowing).
In 1984, Rockwell released his only hit single, "Somebody's Watching Me", featuring childhood friends Michael and Jermaine Jackson on guest vocals (notably in the chorus lyrics).
Whoa, wait a minute! Someone who didn't want nepotism to figure into his career recruited Michael Jackson to sing on his first single? Keep in mind that in 1984 Michael Jackson was easily the biggest star on the planet with the gazillion-selling Thriller album. He won eight Grammys that year (this was long before all the creepy stuff at Neverland Ranch). As I recall, Michael's participation on "Somebody's Watching Me" was what brought the song so much attention in the first place. I mean, people would have bought records of Michael burping the alphabet in those days.

So Mr. "I Can Get a Record Deal Without My Daddy" rode the coattails of Michael Jackson instead. And for that matter, Jermaine was married to Rockwell's half-sister, so he was still trading on family connections. So much for doing it on his own.

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