Ghosts of Pop Singles Past

Apparently, the soundtrack to Disney’s new Haunted Mansion movie, Haunted Hits, features Morris Day and the Time doing a cover of Rockwell’s "Somebody’s Watching Me". Rockwell, you’ll recall, is Kenneth Gordy, Berry Gordy’s son. And hey whaddaya know, he was signed to Motown back in the day. And his debut single featured Michael Jackson and Jermaine (that’s right, Berry’s son-in-law) Jackson on backing vocals. Funny how that works.

More to the point, despite the apparently updated production, the new cover is so note-for-note that it seems almost completely pointless except that future generations will credit the Halloween radio staple to the wrong has-been jheri curl drum-machine 80s act. Chalk one up for Morris, I guess.

But the thing I’m most curious about is, given the movie’s lead actor, if they wanted someone with a track record of releasing lite-funk radio singles with vocals that sound exactly like Rockwell’s, why didn’t they ask Eddie Murphy himself? "Party All the Time" is more than qualification enough for doing a Rockwell update, and it might have given Eddie one of those Will Smith-style excuses for getting back in the recording biz via a film career.

Perhaps Eddie is no longer willing to indulge his musical career or to emulate Michael Jackson’s singing voice. Mr. Murphy, Whatzupwitu?