Berry Gordy III, I presume. (Actually, I don't remember his real name, and neither do you). But he was (and is) the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy. One day, back in 1984 or so, there was this snippet of dinner-table conversation at the Gordy Castle between father and son:

Father: Son, your birthday is coming up. Any thoughts about what you might like?

Son: Dad, I'd like... I'd like... a hit record!

F: (beaming) Aw, son, I'm proud of you! You want to go into the music business, just like your dear old dad!

S: Yes, sir.

F: It's yours! (motions to an assistant in the distance) Carstairs! Get me Michael on the phone!

(Carstairs arrives shortly, bringing a phone to the dinner table. A button on the speed dial is pressed, and the sound of automatic dialing ensues.)

voice of Michael: This is Michael. (Background music: a muzak medley of Beatles tunes). My lawyers advise me that I can't say why I can't come to the phone right now, but if you verbally genuflect at the sound of the beep, I'll listen to your message later. Anything you say becomes the property of MJJ Corporation. Thank you. (Sound of beep).

F: Oh Michael! Oh king! Heh heh heh. What a kidder! How you doin'? The boy wants a hit record for his birthday, and I was wondering if you might be able to help, maybe write something, sing a little, and show the boy some dance steps and grooming tips for the videos. And if you agree to help him out, I'll promise not to release any more J5 outtakes... (Moves mouth away from the phone). ...for a little while.


The next day, the arrangements were made. Michael ended up singing the chorus of a song entitled "Somebody's Watching Me", and it was a big hit for Rockwell. You can probably remember the chorus, but can you remember Rockwell's contribution to the song? Probably not. Left to his own devices, young Gordy was reduced to an old biz standby, the Provocative Title, for his subsequent single, "Obscene Phone Call". It flopped, at least relative to his debut.

Where is Rockwell now? I don't know.


Did you know? The "Rockwell" name was chosen as Gordy's way of honoring two great Americans, Norman and George Lincoln Rockwell.

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