Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Obscene Phone Caller" by Rockwell

Song#:  1890
Date:  05/05/1984
Debut:  79
Peak:  35
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Rockwell's paranoia themed debut single "Somebody's Watching Me" was a surprise hit that got to #2 at Pop and #1 at R&B. As that record was turning gold, this second single from his debut album was issued. It wasn't nearly as successful getting just inside the Pop Top 40. It did better at R&B where it made the Top 10 at #9. The album would be a gold-seller and set him up for further success, but his second album, Captured, only managed a very minor charting single at R&B ("He's a Cobra" featuring vocals by Stevie Wonder) and it disappeared shortly after. A third LP was a complete miss and that was when Rockwell called it a day. He walked away from the music business stating that it just wasn't fun anymore and never looked back.

ReduxReview:  I did not like "Somebody's Watching Me" at all and this same-styled follow-up is not any better. It is just basically rehashing "Somebody." It might as well have been titled "Part 2." Even the video for the tune picks up after the one for "Somebody." What's even worse with this one is that faux British-like accent Rockwell is doing. I mean, what is that? It is utterly ridiculous as is the song. Without his friend Michael Jackson there to help, there was not much reason for folks to tune in. Therefore, it tanked. What's sad is that Rockwell got caught in this rap/talk/sung/paranoia shtick and wasn't able to escape it. I reluctantly listened to songs from his second album and was surprised that some were pretty good. I was extremely hesitant in calling up the tune "Peeping Tom," as it sounded like another continuation of "Somebody." However, it's actually not a bad synthpop tune that Rockwell actually sings! If folks had given him a chance and heard something like this, he might have had a better career. Unfortunately, he was defined by "Somebody" and it ended up overshadowing anything else he did. 

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  As mentioned in a previous post, Rockwell's real name is Kennedy William Gordy. He is the son of Motown head Berry Gordy. He has a half-brother named Stefan Kendal Gordy who became Redfoo from the group LMFAO. Rockwell also has a half-sister, Rhonda Ross Kendrick, from Berry Gordy's relationship with superstar Diana Ross. Kendrick became an actress and spent two years on the daytime soap Another World. She picked up a Daytime Emmy nomination for her work. Kendrick's half-sister is Tracey Ellis Ross. Ellis Ross has had a successful acting career on TV in shows like Girlfriends and Black-ish, for which she received an Emmy nomination.


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