The release

‘DJ’ was the sixth song on Lodger, and the opening song on side two. The album was released on 18 May 1979.

It was released as a single in June 1979 in Canada, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and United States.

In the UK, France, and Spain, the b-side was ‘Repetition’, while in the other countries it was ‘Fantastic Voyage’.

The song was not a commercial success, peaking at number 29 on the UK chart, and 106 on the US Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart.

In August 1979 ‘DJ’ was issued as a single in Australia, with ‘Repetition’ on the b-side.

The song was edited for single release, from 4:01 to 3:26. The edit was included on Re:Call 3, part of the 2017 box set A New Career In A New Town (1977–1982).

A club remix by Benny Benassi was cleared by Bowie’s people in 2009, and was released as a download by the Positiva label. There were two versions, the 2:35 ‘DJ’ (David Bowie vs. Benny Benassi) remix, and an extended 6:19 mix.

The video

In April 1979, director David Mallet filmed David Bowie in promotional clips for ‘DJ’, ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, and ‘Look Back In Anger’. The shoot took place at Ewart Studios in Wandsworth, London.

For the ‘DJ’ clip Bowie made an unscheduled foray onto Earls Court Road, and continued lip-syncing while surrounded by delighted fans – and nonchalantly walked on while being kissed by some. He was also filmed inside a radio studio set, which he smashed up and sprayed paint on.

Live performances

David Bowie performed ‘DJ’ during the Outside Tour in 1995-6.

The first was on 14 November 1995 at London’s Wembley Arena. It was played at all four shows at the venue that month.

The final performance was on 20 February 1996 the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in Paris, France, the final date of the Outside Tour.