Over To You: Patriotic Music In DJ Sets

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Independence day
Last updated 30 August, 2017


Is there a tune you are expected to play where you are in the world for some patriotic, “tribal”, or regional cause, the kind of tune you might get lynched if you forgot to play, either generally, or on a certain day of the year?

So today is, of course, Independence Day in the USA. Remembering a bizarre thing that happened to me once when DJing, I want to talk to you today about music that – for either tribal or national reasons – you simply have to play in your DJ sets, either on certain days of the year or even generally. Let me tell you the story…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away

Oh OK, it was probably around 1989, in Glossop, Derbyshire, UK, but it seems a long way away now! Anyway, my friend and I were DJing at an event to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday in the back garden of a rural pub way back then.

It got to the end of the night which had gone OK, and we were just about to pack up when a local came over to us and said: “Aren’t you going to play the National Anthem, then?”

Now, we were playing 7″ singles back then and to the best of my knowledge then AND now, a copy of our National Anthem, “God Save the Queen”, was pretty hard to come by on vinyl. Anyway, long and short of it was – we couldn’t close the night with the National Anthem, and I’ll tell you now we nearly got lynched on the hasty exit we made from that country pub!

So that illustrates my point: We were expected to play a patriotic tune due to the Queen’s Birthday, it was clearly some kind of tradition in that rural backwater, and we failed!

What about you?

So on this important patriotic day in the US, I wanted to ask our DJ readers the world over: Is there a tune you HAVE to play in your sets for such reasons? Maybe a local sports team’s anthem, or indeed your own national anthem, or something else? I’m not just talking about “Oh, I’d get lynched if I didn’t play Pharrell’s ‘Happy'” or that kind of thing, rather, tunes that for some tribal or nationalistic reason that you’re expected to play.

I’d love to hear your stories in the comments – and happy Independence Day if you’re in the USA. Haver a great party 🙂

DJ Jazzy Jeff Course