Answer song

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An answer song, response song or answer record is a song (usually a recorded track) made in answer to a previous song, normally by another artist. The concept became widespread in blues and R&B recorded music in the 1930s to the 1950s. Answer songs were also popular in country music in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, sometimes as female responses to an original hit by a male artist or male responses to a hit by a female artist.

The original "Hound Dog" song sung by Big Mama Thornton reached number 1 in 1953, and there were six answer songs in response; the most successful of these was "Bear Cat", by Rufus Thomas which reached number 3. That led to a successful copyright lawsuit for $35,000, which is said to have led Sam Phillips of Sun Records to sell Elvis Presley's recording contract to RCA.[1][2]

In Rock Eras: Interpretations of Music and Society ISBN 0-87972-368-8, Jim Curtis says that "the series of answer songs which were hits in 1960 ... indicates the dissociation of the singer from the song ... Answer songs rode on the coattails, as it were, of the popularity of the first song, and resembled parodies in that their success depended on a knowledge of the original ... Answer songs were usually one-hit flukes by unknown singers whose lack of identity did not detract from the success of the record since only the song, and not the performer, mattered."[3]

Today, this practice is most common in hip hop music and filk, especially as the continuation of a feud between performers; the Roxanne Wars was a notable example that resulted in over a hundred answer songs.[4] Answer songs also played a part in the battle over turf in The Bridge Wars.[4] Sometimes, an answer record imitated the original very closely and occasionally, a hit song would be followed up by the same artist.











  • Coheed and Cambria's 2020 song "Jessie's Girl 2" is a sequel to Rick Springfield's 1981 song "Jessie's Girl". Featuring Springfield himself on the track, the song imagines what would have happened had Springfield succeeded in winning Jessie's girl.[43]
  • Sabrina Carpenter's 2021 single "Skin" and song "Because I Liked a Boy" from her 2022 album "Emails I Can't Send" is speculated to be responses to Olivia Rodrigo's "Drivers License", although Carpenter denies this.[44][45] "Skin" mentions a line used in "Drivers License" about Carpenter's appearance, while "Because I Liked a Boy" recalls all the threats she received after Rodrigo's song was released.
  • Roselia's 2022 song "Rozen Horizon" is a sequel to their 2019 song "Fire Bird", according the mini-album's page.[46]
  • Country trio Chapel Hart's 2022 song "You Can Have Him Jolene" answers Dolly Parton's classic "Jolene" almost 50 years later.[47]
  • Miley Cyrus's 2023 song "Flowers" paraphrases "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars, in lyrics as well as in chord progression (Cyrus uses a simplified version of Mars' verse chords in her chorus) and even in some melodic patterns. While Mars sings about what "he" could have done better in the now broken relationship, Cyrus sings about how "she" is better now that she is alone. Cyrus also takes some melodic figures from "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor.[48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Salem, James M. (2001). The late, great Johnny Ace and the transition from R & B to rock 'n' roll'. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-06969-2.
  2. ^ "sam phillips and the remix". Archived from the original on 2012-03-13.
  3. ^ Curtis, James M. (1987). Rock Eras: Interpretations of Music and Society, 1954-1984. Bowling Green State University Popular Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780879723699. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b Hess, Mickey (2009). Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast. ABC-CLIO. p. xx. ISBN 978-0-313-34323-0.
  5. ^ Shalk, El McMeen and Sandy (24 February 2022). The Glory of CGDGAD Guitar Tuning: From Music to Method. Mel Bay Publications. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-5134-5910-3.
  6. ^ Magee, Bruce R. "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (and the Nymph's Reply)". Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  7. ^ "I Wonder Why Bill Bailey Don't Come Home". 16 November 2005.
  8. ^ "I Used to Be Afraid to Come Home in the Dark". 16 November 2005.
  9. ^ "I'm Afraid to Come Home in the Dark". 16 November 2005.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Woody Guthrie: this man is your myth, this man is my myth, section American Hero
  12. ^ Leszczak, Bob (25 June 2015). From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records, 1950-2000. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-4274-6.
  13. ^ "Country Music – Music News, New Songs, Videos, Music Shows and Playlists". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  14. ^ The Big Bopper Archived January 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Damita Jo Page". Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. pp. 255–256. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  17. ^ Playboy Magazine (1984). "Playboy Interview With Paul and Linda McCartney". Playboy Press. Retrieved 23 August 2008.
  18. ^ "Music | Yahoo Entertainment". Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  19. ^ Dowling, Marcus K. (March 2, 2021). "How Reba McEntire Flipped 'Whoever's in New England' (and Her Sound) to Create a Mega-Hit". The Boot. Townsquare Media. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  20. ^ Roznovsky, Lindsey (2008-01-02). "The story behind Sugarland's "Stay"". Country Music Television. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  21. ^ Liz Smith, "Papa Gets Second Chance In New Video", Sarasota Herald-Tribune (October 22, 1986), 5E.
  22. ^ "Mamado & She - I'm Your Wild Thang". 1989. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  23. ^ "Interview with Graham Sutton (taken by US zine Audrie's Diary, 1994)". Audrie's Diary. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  24. ^ "Answer Records". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  25. ^ "As Hundreds Cheer". 30 November 1999. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  26. ^ "Mariah Carey Casts "Rainbow" For Next LP; Taps Missy, Da Brat For Remix". MTV News. August 13, 1999. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  27. ^ Sebastián, GU San (2017-11-07). "The Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight. El clásico del mes". GU San Sebastián (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-02-19.
  28. ^ Moring, Mark. "Getting It Right". Christianity Today International. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  29. ^ "Discs at dawn". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Answer Records / Sequels".
  31. ^ Wright, Jade (September 29, 2011). "Dean Friedman tells Jade Wright why he's planning revenge on Half Man Half Biscuit". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  32. ^ Гришин, Михаил (22 October 2022). "Солистка группы "Винтаж" рассказала, что Польна восприняла песню "Ева" как "посмертную оду" - Газета.Ru | Новости". Газета.Ru (in Russian).
  33. ^ "Marina and the Diamonds Covers Justin Bieber's 'Boyfriend', Re-Arranges Lyrics « Videos « MetroLyrics Loves". Archived from the original on 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2012-06-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  34. ^ Hill, Kellus (14 May 2012). "Lecrae - Church Clothes". Da South. Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  35. ^ Lezama, Nigel (March 2019). "Status, Votive Luxury, and Labour: The Female Rapper's Delight". Fashion Studies. 2 (1): 1–23. doi:10.38055/FS010202. S2CID 226869546. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  36. ^ Corner, Lewis (17 September 2015). "6 ways Ellie Goulding's new single takes a swing at Ed Sheeran: A lyrical breakdown". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  37. ^ Hodgson, Claire (18 September 2015). "Is Ellie Goulding's new song On My Mind about Ed Sheeran?". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  38. ^ Christine🌹theQueens [@QueensChristine] (September 15, 2016). "@AFNoli Beyoncé est indépassable ds l'original car c'est une femme bafouée qui se révolte - dans la mienne, je suis le cheater" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  39. ^ Patterson, Esmé (2015-01-30). "My happiness depends on you: giving voice to the unsung women of pop". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-02-18.
  40. ^ "Eels unveil an incredible animated video for 'Bone Dry' - premiere". The Independent. April 6, 2018. Archived from the original on 2022-05-07.
  41. ^ "'Fresh Blood' on AOL Music". AOL Music. 2009-03-31. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  42. ^ "Photos: Five Reasons to Think Taylor Swift Is John Mayer's "Paper Doll"". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  43. ^ Lenker, Maureen Lee. "Rick Springfield helps give 'Jessie's Girl' murderous sequel in Coheed and Cambria music video". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  44. ^ Walsh, Charlotte. "Sabrina Carpenter Gets Drenched Again While Performing 'Skin'". Vulture.
  45. ^ ""because i liked a boy" Lyrics on".
  46. ^ "Roselia ミニAlbum「ROZEN HORIZON」". Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  47. ^ Houghton, Cillea (2021-09-02). "Chapel Hart Build Sass and Soul into Sophomore LP The Girls Are Back in Town". Audio Femme. Retrieved 2022-07-22.
  48. ^ Eames, Tom. "Why Miley Cyrus' new song 'Flowers' is a response to Bruno Mars' 'When I Was Your Man' 10 years later". Smooth.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Answer Records / Sequels", list of Answer Songs from
  • B. Lee Cooper and Wayne S. Haney, Response Recordings: An Answer Song Discography, 1950-1990, Scarecrow Press, 1990, ISBN 978-0810823426 (A comprehensive alphabetized list of over 2500 hit tunes that prompted the production of answer songs or other forms of response recordings)
  • Answer Songs, Spotify playlist of some of the answer songs on this page