Lenny Kravitz says that he was almost the original singer for the 1984 hit “Somebody’s Watching Me,” which he revealed in his recent memoir Let Love Rule and expounded on in a new Rolling Stone interview. While attending Beverly Hills High School in the early ’80s, Kravitz became friends with Kennedy Gordy, the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.
Eventually, Gordy would go on to make his own project called Rockwell and put out “Somebody’s Watching Me” on his own, complete with help from Michael and Jermaine Jackson and his father. But before that he showed the song to Kravitz and said that he should sing it.
Per Kravitz, Gordy “came over to my mom’s house with the first LinnDrum drum machine which was really big and heavy and he had some sort of Roland keyboard.” Kravitz continued:
He’s like, ‘I got this tune for you and I think that you’re really gonna dig this. And he sings me the song [begins to sing first verse] and he gets to the hook [sings hook] and I’m like, “Wow, that’s good.” […] I was like, ‘It’s really good, but it’s you. You should do this, man,’ At that time, he wasn’t thinking about himself as being an artist. Maybe he was thinking more about being a producer and a writer. But he offered me this song and next thing you know, the months go by and I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ I hear this song on the radio and the rest is history.”
“Somebody’s Watching Me” spent 19 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #2 behind Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose.”
Gordy would go on to release three albums as Rockwell and, in 2016, he was talking up a big return to music after 30 years away. But since then Gordy has been arrested for assault at least twice, once in 2017 for fighting his housekeeper after she didn’t make a sandwich quickly enough and again in 2018 for beating a woman with a chair. Maybe Kravitz was wise to stay away from “Somebody’s Watching Me.”