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]

Throughout his career, rapper M.C. Hammer has dissed hip hop DJs and rappers in general beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. Since his debut album in 1987, Feel My Power (claiming he was "...second to none, from Doug E. Fresh, LL Cool J or DJ Run" on the single "Let's Get It Started"), Hammer has had "feuds" with several rappers. In fact, Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em was an effort to avoid disrespecting others on wax and becoming more "pop". Nevertheless, Hammer has created, responded to, attacked and/or participated in rap battles with MC Serch of 3rd Bass and LL Cool J (including a feud with other rappers on Mama Said Knock You Out and the remix of "I Shot Ya"), Dres of Black Sheep, Rodney O, A Tribe Called Quest (Q-Tip), Redman and Run DMC (on the track "Break 'Em Off Somethin' Proper" from The Funky Headhunter in 1994), Eminem and Busta Rhymes from Full Blast in 2004 (title track with music video) and most recently "Better Run Run" in response to a comment Jay-Z made about him on the single "So Appalled" in 2010.

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. ^ http://www.everyhit.com/answer/
  11. ^ http://www.villagevoice.com/1999-11-30/news/as-hundreds-cheer/3/
  12. ^ Moring, Mark. "Getting It Right". Christianity Today International. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  13. ^ arts.guardian: Discs at Dawn
  14. ^ "Answer Records / Sequels". everyhit.com. 
  15. ^ [1],
  16. ^ 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 081082342 (A comprehensive alphabetized list of over 2500 hit tunes that prompted the production of answer songs or other forms of response recordings)