December 11, 2005

Three Rules for the DJ

I was asked to DJ for my wife's office Christmas party last night. Christmas music during cocktails and dinner and then dance music afterwards. Because it's a rather diverse group of people ranging from their 20's to 60's, putting together a playlist for dancing was a challenge, but one that I'd dealt with before when I used to DJ at the American Legion for "family night" dances. I assumed that the older people would leave earlier, so tried to front load the playlist towards them. Towards the end, I set up a bunch of commonly requested songs. Also, so that I could enjoy the party too, it was suggested that I just bring some CD's that I could put on and let play, rather than sit there and work. So with that in mind, I put together a few dance CD's containing everything from country to funk to rock. It went well enough, but I was reminded of the DJ rules:

1. Never leave your equipment alone, because people will play with it.

When the dance music started, a few folks decided that it was too loud and turned down the volume so that they could talk. In turn, the folks who wanted to dance would crank it back up. It got to be a silly little pissing contest.

Later, the people dancing wanted more volume, but since I'd brought a limited setup rather than the whole system, we had the volume maxed out. It wasn't bone thumping, but it was good enough. Well, except for the yahoos who managed to shut the whole thing down *three times* by fiddling with buttons at random.

2. In a mixed group like this, everyone is going to hate something you play.

The younger group wanted more fast rock, the older folks wanted more country and slow dance music. Of course, everyone tells the DJ how lousy his music choices are, at different times depending on what's currently playing.

3. The DJ is always the last to leave, and nobody helps haul the equipment back to your car.

Oh well, I had fun anyway, and there were several couples dancing. For all the griping, I did notice that most everyone knew the music too and there were plenty of people "dancing" in their seats.

The playlists are in the extended entry, for the bored and/or curious.

Dance 1

The Motown Song - Rod Stewart
Dela - Johnny Clegg
Lady Love - Lou Rawls
What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Shake Your Groove Thing - Peaches & Herb
Give Me the Night - George Benson
Boot Scootin' Boogie - Brooks & Dunn
Guitars, Cadillacs - Dwight Yoakum
Behind Closed Doors - Buddy Rich
Sure Feels Good - Elvin Bishop
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate
The Game of Love - Michelle Branch & Carlos Santana
Heaven - Los Lonely Boys
Tub Thumping - Chumbawumba
Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows
Waterfalls - TLC
I Can't Help Falling In Love - UB40

Dance 2

Baby Likes to Rock It - The Tractors
Bing Bang Boom - Highway 101
Crazy - Patsy Cline
Don't Be Stupid - Shania Twain
Down at the Twist and Shout - Mary Chapin Carpenter
The Truth About Men - Tracy Byrd
Rush Rush - Paula Abdul
Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck
Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest
Together Again - Janet Jackson
Your Love Keeps Lifting Me - Jackie Wilson
Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
The Boys Are Back In Town - The Busboys
Brick House - The Commodores
September - Earth, Wind & Fire
Never My Love - 5th Dimension
1985 - Bowling for Soup
We Got the Beat - The Go-Go's
All-Star - SmashMouth
Unskinny Bop - Poison

Dance 3

Have I Told You Lately - Emilio (Spanish version - very beautiful)
Wild Wild Life - Wailing Souls
Hillbilly Rap - Neal McCoy
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye - Neal McCoy
I'll Take You There - Staple Singers
Give Me Just A Little More Time - Chairmen of the Board
Oh Girl - Chi-Lites
Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake
Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
As I Lay Me Down to Sleep - Sophie B. Hawkins
Love Shack - B52's
Y.M.C.A. - Village People
If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life - Jimmy Soul
Going Going Gone - Neal McCoy
Head Carolina, Tails California - Jo Dee Messina
Heart of Rock & Roll - Huey Lewis & the News
American Woman - The Guess Who
Rockin' Me - Steve Miller Band
Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger

Posted by Ted at December 11, 2005 11:21 AM | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Hmmm, alot of those I've never heard of. Great choice with You Sexy Thing. Some days I just can't stop running it through my head. That song's gotta be one if the most well-textured mixing jobs of the '70s!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 11, 2005 09:24 PM

I rarely leave my equipment alone. Seriously, though, If I caught someone "fiddling" with it, I probably would've simply pickeed that person up and tossed them aside. What the Hell? How arrogant do you have to be to think that you can touch the equipment!?

I get the same questions/abuse, but my favorite (and one to which I simply respond with "no") is "so, can I look through your music?" no, but if you tell me what you want to hear, I'll put it on. "I don't know, but I'll know it when I see it."

Sure you will. Go sit down. Have another drink.

Posted by: Derek at December 12, 2005 02:15 PM

Yeah. You're never going to make everybody happy. But I like your variety. We were at a party a couple of months and the "DJ" played songs that would be more appropriate at a rave or something like that. It was a Military related dinner events BTW.
I’d hire you!!

Posted by: Blogeline at December 12, 2005 04:02 PM

Boy you're full of surprises, aren't you? Next you'll be telling us that you moonlight as a lounge singer. ;-)

Great playlist, btw!

Posted by: Cindy at December 12, 2005 04:41 PM
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