Answer song

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

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 which resulted in over a hundred answer songs.[3] Answer songs also played a part in the battle over turf in The Bridge Wars.[3] Sometimes an answer record imitated the original very closely and occasionally a hit song would be followed up by the same artist.

Answer song examples[edit]

Pre-1950s[edit]

1950s[edit]

1960s[edit]

1970/80/90s[edit]

2000s/10s[edit]

Diss tracks[edit]

See also: Diss track

References[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". 
  3. ^ a b Hess, Mickey (2009). Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast. ABC-CLIO. p. xx. ISBN 0-313-34323-3. 
  4. ^ Woody Guthrie: this man is your myth, this man is my myth, section American Hero
  5. ^ CMT.com : Kitty Wells : Biography
  6. ^ The Big Bopper www.hotshotdigital.com
  7. ^ damita jo www.soulwalking.co.uk
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. pp. 255–256. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  9. ^ Alabama http://music.yahoo.com/
  10. ^ Liz Smith, "Papa Gets Second Chance In New Video", Sarasota Herald-Tribune (October 22, 1986), 5E.
  11. ^ http://www.everyhit.com/answer/
  12. ^ http://www.villagevoice.com/1999-11-30/news/as-hundreds-cheer/3/
  13. ^ Moring, Mark. "Getting It Right". Christianity Today International. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  14. ^ arts.guardian: Discs at Dawn
  15. ^ "Answer Records / Sequels". everyhit.com. 
  16. ^ [1],
  17. ^ Hill, Kellus (14 May 2012). "Lecrae - Church Clothes". Da South. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Answer Records / Sequels", list of Answer Songs from everyhit.com
  • 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)