Rockwell (musician)

Last updated

Rockwell
Birth nameKennedy William Gordy
Also known asKenneth Gordy
Born (1964-03-15) March 15, 1964 (age 55)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments
Years active1983–1991
Labels Motown

Kennedy William Gordy (born March 15, 1964), better known by his stage name Rockwell, is an American former musician and singer-songwriter who was signed to the Motown label.

Motown Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group. It was originally founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959, and was incorporated as Motown Record Corporation on April 14, 1960. Its name, a portmanteau of motor and town, has become a nickname for Detroit, where the label was originally headquartered.

Contents

Early life

Kennedy William Gordy aka Rockwell is the son of Motown founder and CEO Berry Gordy and Margaret Norton. His father named him Kennedy William after John F. Kennedy and William "Smokey" Robinson. [1] [2]

Berry Gordy American record producer, songwriter and founder of Motown record label

Berry Gordy III is an American record executive, record producer, songwriter, film producer and television producer. He is best known as the founder of the Motown record label and its subsidiaries, which was the highest-earning African-American business for decades.

John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician and journalist who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. A member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president.

Smokey Robinson American R&B singer-songwriter and record producer

William "Smokey" Robinson Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and frontman of the Motown vocal group the Miracles, for which he was also chief songwriter and producer. Robinson led the group from its 1955 origins as "the Five Chimes" until 1972 when he announced a retirement from the group to focus on his role as Motown's vice president.

Career

To avoid the appearance of nepotism, he secured his record deal without his father's knowledge. [3] Motown actually came up with the name Rockwell and the young Gordy agreed to the change because he believed he "rocked well."

Nepotism is the granting of favour to relatives in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, religion and other activities. The term originated with the assignment of nephews to important positions by Catholic popes and bishops. Trading parliamentary employment for favors is a modern-day example of nepotism. Criticism of nepotism, however, can be found in ancient Indian texts such as the Kural literature.

In 1984, Rockwell released his biggest hit single, "Somebody's Watching Me", featuring childhood friend Michael Jackson on guest vocals (notably in the chorus lyrics), and Jermaine Jackson singing back-up. [4] "Somebody's Watching Me" became a Gold-certified million selling #2 smash hit in the US, which also peaked at #6 in the UK. Additionally, it held #1 on Billboard's R&B chart for five weeks. Follow-up singles underperformed, however, with single "Obscene Phone Caller" being Rockwell's only other Top 40 single. This follow-up single reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rockwell soon ended his musical career with Motown.

Somebodys Watching Me 1984 single by Rockwell

"Somebody's Watching Me" is a song recorded by American singer Rockwell, released by the Motown label on January 14, 1984, as the lead single from his debut studio album of the same name. Rockwell's debut single release, the song features guest vocals by brothers Michael Jackson and Jermaine Jackson.

Michael Jackson American singer, songwriter and dancer

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is widely regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He was also known for his unorthodox lifestyle, residing in a private amusement park he called Neverland Ranch and often becoming the focus of tabloid scrutiny. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Jermaine Jackson American singer and member of The Jackson 5

Jermaine La Juane Jackson is an American singer, songwriter, bass guitarist, and member of the Jackson family. He was a member of The Jackson Five, a singing group composed of four of his brothers and him, from 1962 to 1975, where he was the second lead vocalist and played bass guitar.

Rockwell was not the first member of the Gordy family to hit Billboard's Hot 100 as a recording artist. His uncle, Robert Gordy, reached the longer reaches of the chart in 1958 with "Everyone Was There," recording under the name of Bob Kayli.

The Gordys are an African-American family of businesspeople and music industry executives. They were born to Georgia-reared parents Berry "Pops" Gordy Sr. and Bertha Fuller Gordy and raised in Detroit, where most of the siblings played a pivotal role in the international acceptance of rhythm and blues music as a crossover phenomenon in the 1960s. The accomplishment is attributable to the creation of Motown, a company founded by the seventh-oldest sibling, Berry Gordy Jr.

Robert Louis Gordy is an American former music publishing executive, and a former recording artist under the stage name Bob Kayli. He is the youngest child of Berry Gordy, Sr. and Bertha Fuller, the brother of Motown founder, Berry Gordy, Jr. and uncle of singer and Rapper Redfoo.

Personal life

Rockwell is the son of Berry Gordy. Rockwell's paternal half-sister is actress Rhonda Ross Kendrick, the eldest child of Diana Ross. Rockwell is also closely related to the group LMFAO through his half-brother Redfoo (Stefan Kendal Gordy, son of Berry Gordy and Nancy Leiviska) and his nephew SkyBlu (Skyler Austen Gordy, son of half-brother Berry Gordy IV and his wife Valerie Robeson).[ citation needed ]

Rhonda Ross is an American singer-songwriter, actress, and public speaker. She is the daughter of singer/actress Diana Ross. She was born in Los Angeles and raised by Ross and her first husband, Robert Ellis Silberstein. Her biological father is Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

Diana Ross American vocalist, music artist and actress

Diana Ross is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown's most successful act, and are the best charting girl group in US history, as well as one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. The group released a record-setting twelve number-one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, including "Where Did Our Love Go", "Baby Love", "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love", "You Can't Hurry Love", "You Keep Me Hangin' On", "Love Child", and "Someday We'll Be Together".

LMFAO American pop music duo

LMFAO was an American electronic dance music duo consisting of uncle Redfoo and nephew SkyBlu. They respectively are a son and grandson of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. RedFoo and SkyBlu grew up in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, where they formed the group LMFAO in 2006 and later became part of the electro house scene. LMFAO started building a local buzz through its shows and radio play. In 2010, they were featured on David Guetta's song "Gettin' Over You", which charted all over Europe and the United States, including reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart.

In July 2010, Rockwell married Nicole Moore. In 2013 he filed for divorce. The couple have no children together. [5]

On November 29, 2018, Rockwell was arrested in Hollywood for allegedly beating a female associate with a chair at the Magic Castle Hotel after she approached him and demanded payment. Rockwell was released from jail on December 1, 2018, on a $30000 bail. On January 7, 2019, the woman, who suffered multiple injuries from the attack and had undergone surgery to repair a broken arm, filed a lawsuit against Rockwell in Los Angeles for personal injury, claiming damages exceeding $25000. [6]

Discography

Studio albums

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions Certifications
US
[7]
US R&B
[7]
CAN
[8]
UK
[9]
Somebody's Watching Me 1553456
Captured
  • Release date: January 15, 1985
  • Label: Motown Records
12052
The Genie
  • Release date: 1986
  • Label: Motown Records
59
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

Singles

TitleYearPeak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[11]
US R&B
[11]
US Dan
[11]
AUT
[12]
CAN
[13]
NZ
[14]
SWI
[15]
UK
[9]
"Somebody's Watching Me"1984213142536Somebody's Watching Me
"Obscene Phone Caller"3579
"Knife"
"Taxman"88
"He's a Cobra"198510865Captured
"Peeping Tom"
"Tokyo"
"Carmé"198646The Genie
"Grow Up"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

Filmography

Rockwell appeared on Soul Train on February 2, 1985 (Season 14, Episode 17).

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References

  1. Gordy, Berry (1994). "Survival of the Fittest: 1960–1964". To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown. New York: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN   0-7472-1417-4.
  2. Holden, Stephen. "(The New York Times) IT TAKES STAR QUALITY TO SHARE THE JACKSON LIMELIGHT" . Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  3. Rockwell at Allmusic
  4. "How Rockwell Created Paranoid Pop Classic 'Somebody's Watching Me'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  5. "R&B Singer Rockwell – Somebody's Watching Me ... Divorce My Wife". TMZ.com. EHM Productions, Inc. June 29, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  6. Trock, Gary; Walters, Liz (January 7, 2019). "Berry Gordy's Son, Rockwell, Was Arrested for Allegedly Beating Woman With a Chair During Brutal Attack". The Blast. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  7. 1 2 "allmusic ((( Rockwell > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Allmusic . Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  8. "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada: Top Albums/CDs". RPM . Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  9. 1 2 "Official Charts – Rockwell". The Official UK Charts Company - OfficialCharts.com. Retrieved 2016-04-21.
  10. "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – July 25, 2010: Rockwell certified albums". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  11. 1 2 3 "allmusic ((( Rockwell > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Allmusic . Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  12. "austriancharts.at – Austria Top 40". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  13. "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada: Top Singles". RPM . Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  14. "charts.org.nz – New Zealand charts portal". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  15. "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  16. "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – July 25, 2010: Rockwell certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved 2010-07-25.