"Rock DJ" is a song by English singer and songwriter Robbie Williams, featured on his third studio album, Sing When You're Winning (2000). The song was released on 31 July 2000 as the lead single from the album. It samples the strings from Barry White's song "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me" and also contains a sample of "Can I Kick It?" by A Tribe Called Quest and has a quote from "La Di Da Di" by Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. It reached number one in Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom as well as the top 10 in Australia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland.
|Single by Robbie Williams|
|from the album Sing When You're Winning|
|B-side||"Talk to Me"|
|Released||31 July 2000|
|Studio||Hook End Manor|
|Robbie Williams singles chronology|
"Rock DJ" was the fourth best-selling song of 2000 in the United Kingdom. The music video features Williams trying to impress a female DJ by stripping naked and eventually resorting to removing his skin and muscles, ending up as a skeleton. The song won British Single of the Year, and the video won British Video of the Year at the 2001 Brit Awards.
The accompanying music video for "Rock DJ" was directed by Vaughan Arnell. It begins with Williams dancing on a roller disco with women skating around him. He wants to get the attention of the female DJ (played by Lauren Gold) standing above the stage, so he begins taking off his clothes. After he finally gets her attention he proceeds with stripping of his skin, muscles and organs, until the only thing left of him are his bones, which is performed by special effects. In the end, the DJ dances with his skeleton.
The video ends with the note, "No Robbies were Harmed During the Making of this Video", a pun on the "No animals were harmed" note. The skinless Robbie also appears on the single's cover art, as well as on the cover of the DVD release of In and Out of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990–2010 in 2010. Another video shows Williams in a studio recording the song.
The video's ending (beginning with Williams taking off his skin) was cut by most music channels around Europe, including VIVA, MCM, MTV, The Box and VH1 Europe. However, in the recent years, some of the music channels in Europe (including MTV Classic and VH1 Europe) airs the "studio recording" version of the music video, even on late night, which made the edited version of the music video fall into obscurity.
Examples of TV stations that still play the full video are Bulgarian channel MM, former German located channel B.TV (often in daytime) and Canadian channel MusiquePlus, some channels ran the edited video during the day and the unedited one overnight, while The Hits played a version which cut from Williams dancing in his underwear to dancing as a skeleton, filling the gap by repeating previous footage. This is the version that is currently played on channels owned by The Box Plus Network. In 2001, "Rock DJ" won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects. In 2006, it was voted by viewers as the seventh Most Groundbreaking Video Ever on MTV and in 2007 it was ranked at number 48 on MuchMusic's 50 Most Controversial Videos. The video was banned in Dominican Republic due to allegations of Satanism.
The video has been shown numerous times on Fuse's Pants-Off Dance-Off, despite its gory content. Toward the end of the dancer's dancing/stripping to it when the video is shown in the background like any other, they only show Williams, briefly, ripping and throwing his skin, and dancing in muscle form before cutting to the hostess of the show.
The song became Williams' third number-one solo single in the United Kingdom, going on to sell over 600,000 copies and being certified Platinum by the BPI. The song also became a smash hit around Europe, charting inside the top ten in most countries and becoming his first number-one single in New Zealand, Argentina and Mexico. The song also became a top five hit in Australia, where it went on to sell over 70,000 copies, being certified Platinum by the ARIA. However, success in the United States was limited, reaching number 24 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play but failing to chart inside the Hot 100. "Rock DJ" went on to sell almost 4 million copies worldwide. The song was named the Best Song of 2000 at the MTV Europe Music Awards and Best Single and Best Video at the Brits 2001.
UK CD single
- "Rock DJ" – 4:15
- "Talk to Me" – 3:28
- "Rock DJ" (Player One Remix) – 5:34
UK DVD single
- "Rock DJ" (music video)
- "Rock DJ" (The Making Of)
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||5,000*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||674,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- "ROCK DJ: MUSIC VIDEO". RobbieWilliams.com. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
The video's ending was cut by most music channels around Europe, including VIVA, MCM and MTV with VH1 Europe decided to use its own video for the song, created from studio footage.
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