"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 video appears as an instance of the re-use of the motif of "dancing with the dead" in a book about medieval images of death and dying in art and literature.
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.
- "Robbie video banned for 'Satanism'". BBC News. 19 October 2000. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
- Kinch, Ashby (2013). Imago Mortis: Mediating Images of Death in Late Medieval Culture. Brill. pp. 278–279. ISBN 978-90-04-24581-5.
- "British single certifications – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 5 July 2018. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Rock DJ in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2000 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
- "Australian-charts.com – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Austriancharts.at – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Ultratop.be – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Ultratop.be – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3992." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4895." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Robbie Williams: Rock DJ" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Lescharts.com – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Music & Media: Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (Vikuna 16.9. - 23.9. 2000 37. Vika)" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Rock DJ". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Italiancharts.com – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 33, 2000" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Robbie Williams – Rock Dj" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Charts.nz – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". VG-lista. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Music & Media: Portugal" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Spanishcharts.com – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Swisscharts.com – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "Robbie Williams Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
- "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2000". ARIA. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
- "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "End of Year Charts 2000". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- "Swiss Year-End Charts 2000". Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- "Best Sellers of 2000: Singles Top 100". Music Week. London, England: United Business Media. 20 January 2001. p. 25. ISSN 0265-1548.
- "Chart of the Decade". Chart of the Decade. 29 December 2009. BBC Radio 1.
- "New Zealand single certifications – Robbie Williams – Rock DJ". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
- Myers, Justin (6 August 2015). "Robbie Williams' Rock DJ was Number 1 15 years ago". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 August 2015.