Musicians can sing about love. They can sing about war. They can sing about the environment or politics or race. The entire field of human endeavor is a fair subject for the musician's talent.
Even, it seems, music.
People like going out to clubs and bars, and when there, they like to listen to music and dance. Sometimes, however, the DJ just won't play the music loud enough. And sometimes, they won't play any music at all. Fortunately, songwriters don't deal with this frustration by complaining to the club manager and asking for the DJ's head on a platter. No, musicians know the best way to handle the situation is to write a song demanding the DJ play some music. At their most presumptuous, the musician might even demand the DJ play their music.
Examples of this trope include:
- Rihanna's first big hit was the song "Pon de Replay," which featured one of the politest versions of the trope with the line, "Hey Mr. DJ, won't you turn the music up?"
- She also has the song "Please Don't Stop the Music."
- The Jennifer Lopez song "Play," which includes the lyrics, "Play/come on DJ/Play that song."
- "Music", by Madonna - "Hey, Mr DJ, put a record on, I wanna dance with my baby."
- "Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)", by the Artful Dodger feat. Craig David. By way of explanation, a "selecter" is a Jamaican term for a DJ and "bo!" was at the time (1999) an expression of approval for (mostly black) youth. The lyrics "Re-rewind, when the crowd say "Bo, selecta!" therefore mean roughly "Mr DJ, play the record again if everyone says they like it." The comedian Avid Merrion later adopted "Bo Selecta!" as the title for a TV series in which he parodied, amongst others, Craig David.
- The genre is parodied in the theme tune to British sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps which begins "Hey, Mr Bartender, give me a drink..."
- "Evacuate the Dance Floor" by Cascada.
- John Reuben, "Trying Too Hard":
Gettin' rowdy rowdy, man I ain't gonna front
If the DJ plays my record, that's exactly what I want
- Skindred's "Selector" alternates between praising the DJ's skills and exhorting him to "play the tune again".
- Lee "Scratch" Perry's "Yu Squeeze My Panhandle".
- Macy Grey (with the Black Eyed Peas) has "Request Line."
- "Having a Party" by Sam Cooke may be the Trope Maker.
- "Roll Over DJ" by Jet.
- While Limp Bizkit's song "Rollin'" doesn't really fall under this, the "Urban Assault Vehicle" mix with DMX, Method Man and Redman does.
- "Send My Love to the Dancefloor, I'll See You In Hell (Hey Mr. DJ)" by Cobra Starship.
- The And One song "S.T.O.P. Was an Inside Job" contains the line "If they don't play And One in your disco/ We'll kill the DJ if you want."
- "Scream and Shout" by will.i.am and Britney Spears has a weird example with the line "When you hear this in the club, you're gonna turn this shit up," as clubs don't generally give everyone control over the volume of the music.
- "We R Who We R" by Kesha.
- "Just Might Have Her Radio On" by Trent Tomlinson is a variant, with the male calling a radio DJ and requesting him to play a special song, in hopes that she will have her radio on, hear the song, and be driven to turn around and return to him.
- Played for Laughs in "DJ Play My Song (No Leave Me Alone)" by The Gregory Brothers, in which the DJ keeps trying to explain that he doesn't take requests and the music is already as loud as it will go.
- In "Murder on the Dance Floor," Sophie Ellis Bextor warns the DJ not to change what he's playing: "But you better not kill the groove/DJ, gonna burn this goddamn house right down."
- Van Morrison's "Domino" wraps up with this:
Well, mister DJI just wanna hear some rhythm and blues musicOn the radioOn the radioOn the radio...
- Billy Joel used a old-timey variation on this in the chorus of "Piano Man" (the difference is that he's making the request to a piano player for a small bar, instead of a more modern DJ).
- Dev's "Booty Bounce". "DJ, put that record on, that's my song, that's my shi-"
- "Mr. DJ" by the Charlie Daniels Band, where he name-checks Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr., the Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Alabama, George Jones, and Mickey Gilley.
- "Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal" by They Might Be Giants is about a struggling musician who tries to bribe a DJ into getting one of his songs airplay, only to find the DJ has skipped town with his money.
- "Floorfiller" by A-Teens gets bonus points for a chorus that tells Mr DJ to "Play that funky music", according to the official lyrics. It sounds a little different.
- Downplayed and wistful in Charlie Dore's "Pilot of the Airwaves", where the singer tells the eponymous DJ, "Here is my request, you don't have to play it but I hope you'll do your best..."
- Train's "Play That Song" in which the singer wants to play a specific song for his girlfriend.
- Inverted in "Don't play that song again" by Nicki French.
- Also "Please Mr. Please" by Olivia Newton-John, which implores a jukebox patron not to play B-17.
- Selectively inverted by "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Achy Breaky Song". "But Mr. DJ, please, I'm begging on my knees, I just can't take no more of Billy Ray."
- Subverted by The Smiths in the song "Panic", the chorus of which is the catchy refrain "Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ..." etc.
- Similarly, Green Day's song "Kill the DJ." ("Someone kill the DJ, shoot the fucking DJ. Someone kill the DJ, shoot that fucker down.")
- The Dingees' "Who Stole the Soul in Rock N Roll?" encourages listeners to "Hang the DJ, have no fear," and asserts that "It's quitting time for modern rock radio."
- In "Blow" Kesha sings "It's time to kill the lights and shut the DJ down" (so that she and her friends can take over the club).
- Rollover DJ by Jet.