Songs that were written in response to, or about, other songs

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Kind of an interesting phenomenon this.

The Miracles: "Got a Job" (The Silhouettes' "Get a Job")
Roberta Flack: "Killing Me Softly" (Don McLean: "American Pie")
Wings: "Dear Friend" (John Lennon: "How Do You Sleep")

Geir Hongro, Monday, 28 May 2007 12:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Eamon "F--- It (I Don't Want You Back)" / Frankee "FU Right Back"

ailsa, Monday, 28 May 2007 12:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Classic or dud: Answer Records

Alba, Monday, 28 May 2007 13:03 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Isn't Liz Phair's album "Exile in Guyville" supposed to be a song-by-song response to Exile on Main Street? Probably BS...

Duane Barry, Monday, 28 May 2007 13:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

There's also "Major Tom (Coming Home)" of course. Bowie first continued his own song, and then Peter Shilling continued the saga by adding the happy ending that Bowie didn't want.

Geir Hongro, Monday, 28 May 2007 19:12 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hongroe - "Turbo B Is A Homo" (response to "Rhythm Is A Dancer")

Dom Passantino, Monday, 28 May 2007 19:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen" (message: baby boomers are kinda lame) is a response to Jackson Browne's "Running On Empty" (message: I was born in 1948, and now it's 1978 -- hear my existential angst...).

Fitzcarraldo, Monday, 28 May 2007 19:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Not quite the same but:

Motorpsycho - Hey Jane
Apparently they wanted their own "Hey J--" song, to go along with Hey Jude, Hey Joe and Hey Joni.

Øystein, Monday, 28 May 2007 19:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Is it true that "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is an answer song to Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together"?

Tuomas, Monday, 28 May 2007 21:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"sarcastic title reference" vs "answer song"

nabisco, Monday, 28 May 2007 21:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hongroe - "Turbo B Is A Negro"

energy flash gordon, Tuesday, 29 May 2007 13:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Roberta Flack: "Killing Me Softly" (Don McLean: "American Pie")

It was written in response to a concert appearance by Don McLean not to "American Pie". It might even have been written before "American Pie".

Tom D., Tuesday, 29 May 2007 13:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Peter Murphy - "The Answer Is Clear" (Tones On Tail - "Movement of Fear")

Curt1s Stephens, Tuesday, 29 May 2007 19:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Neil Young, Southern Man---> Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sweet Home Alabama

Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 02:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

ten years pass...

talking heads - big country is a good example of another response song that reverses the original narrative. Roxy Music's "Prairie Rose" which lays the groundwork for this track musically is a tribute to Texas and its "strange allure". Whereas The Big Country is a passive indictment of southern small town culture and how its a dead end. "I wouldn't live there if you paid me to".

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:29 (three months ago) Permalink

Is it? I’m honestly asking... never really knew how to “read” that song (or that line in particular).

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:31 (three months ago) Permalink

talking heads coming off like the asshole there, as per

imago, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:31 (three months ago) Permalink

"It's not even worth talking
About those people down there"

which could be read as a diss on all humans or just the subject of the song, the southerners.

just found this cool quote from a blog frankly curious

"It is the view from seven miles up from an elitist who really knows nothing of the people he is — literally and figuratively — looking down on".

Definitely resonates with me, it could also be read as a retreat from a former country lifestyle (byrne's from Dumbarton) into a city mentality.

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:35 (three months ago) Permalink

See I wasn't sure if Byrne is actually expressing those sentiments, or speaking as a "character"... can't decipher how much irony is present (which could be a failing of this particular song, as his lyrics are usually pretty dead-on readable, even when "ironic"?).

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Bob Dylan - "Gotta Serve Somebody"
John Lennon - "Serve Yourself"

flappy bird, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:37 (three months ago) Permalink

He left Dumbarton when he was 4 btw.

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:37 (three months ago) Permalink

The Beatles - "Norwegian Wood"
Bob Dylan - "4th Time Around"

flappy bird, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:38 (three months ago) Permalink

the song's definitely conflicted because he's acknowledging a community that he's not also part of and longs for that.

thanks Tom, speaking out of my ass it seems there

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:40 (three months ago) Permalink

I think it’s in character to some degree, especially listening to the (superior) The Name of This Band version, where he’s just losing it by the second verse - “Look at them EAT it! I BET IT TASTES REAL GOOOOOD!” But I imagine it reflects some real feelings. So many songs out there about being sick of the hectic city life, goin up the country, etc, and this is one of the very few making a solid case that the city is superior and country living is boring as shit. If I was a journalist who got assigned to write features on Trump country it would be in my head constantly.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:57 (three months ago) Permalink

But he doesn't even really say anything about the city at all(?) I get that it's a guy in a plane over "flyover country," almost marveling at these normal aspects of middle-American life as if they're alien and quaint...

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:02 (three months ago) Permalink

Maybe it's not too complicated; the character is reflecting on that lifestyle and how he wouldn't want to live there (even though he can see the appeal)... and finally concluding he's just tired of being in a plane. I think it's the line "I couldn't live like that, no siree!" that's hard to read, as there's a degree of irony in using that cliche/expression (no one actually says "no siree!" to themselves, at least without irony).

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:05 (three months ago) Permalink

no siree is a southern expression tho :)

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:08 (three months ago) Permalink

It's almost as if the narrator is trying to convince himself that he wouldn't want to live there ("no siree!"), but he's not entirely buying it; especially the more he thinks about it ("I guess it's healthy, I guess the air is clean...").

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:09 (three months ago) Permalink

"I'm tired of traveling, I want to be somewhere" is a tip off line to that ambivalence i think morris

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:10 (three months ago) Permalink

I read the last verse as less being tired of being in a plane, and more being increasingly upset that being in a plane is causing him to think about the people down there and their boring lives.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:11 (three months ago) Permalink

The possibility of ambivalence is there for sure, but it does seem like Byrne’s lyrics typically lay out their characters pretty openly, and there are quite a few that deal with obsessive dislike/distrust towards a common aspect of life.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:20 (three months ago) Permalink

If taken at face value it is just a dick song; I guess the best way to rescue it is to assume irony, or to assume the speaker is a put-on character who is being satirized for the shallowness of his dismissal of millions of people's lives.

For some reason I vaguely thought Byrne was from Columbia (MD) but upon looking it up he actually lived in Arbutus, which is grittier. Not urban or rural but not dreamily suburban either; my feeling is that it had a somewhat blue-collary vibe in the 70s.

fleetwood machiavellian (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:24 (three months ago) Permalink

I think it’s way more entertaining when taken at face value! It’s a funny rant, and it’s funnier with no ambivalence.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:29 (three months ago) Permalink

^ otm

Droni Mitchell (Ross), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:31 (three months ago) Permalink

Kind of an odd album-closer, IMO.

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:33 (three months ago) Permalink

maybe it's ironic. or maybe he's just not bringing up the small-mindedness and ignorance endemic to those places because he doesn't have to. (not everyone out there is small-minded and ignorant, of course... just the people who run things.)

and hey, a self-aware asshole is still an asshole.

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:33 (three months ago) Permalink

ok.

In my mind the "answer song" category widens to include things like "Okie from Muskogee" and "Perfectly Good Guitar," which are answers to broader stimuli than just one song.

fleetwood machiavellian (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:41 (three months ago) Permalink

"The Takeover" and "Ether" obviously

flappy bird, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:42 (three months ago) Permalink

Dean Friedman - A Baker's Tale in response to Half Man Half Biscuit - The Bastard Son of Dean Friedman

devvvine, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:53 (three months ago) Permalink

The Beatles - "Taxman"
Cheap Trick - "Taxman, Mr. Thief"

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:01 (three months ago) Permalink

Bing Crosby - "Pennies From Heaven", "Love Thy Neighbor", "The Last Roundup"
Van Dyke Parks - "Bing Crosby"

Bing has a way of singing with his very heart and soul
Which captivates the world
His millions of listeners never fail to rejoice
At his golden voice
They love to hear his la di da di da
So sweetly with such harmony
Thrilling the world with his melody

I wonder if you heard him singing the song
"May I Be the One to Say I"
I wonder if you heard again
Everytime It Rains It Rains Pennies from Heaven
But Love Thy Neighbor was a most thrilling song
And Get Along Little Dogie Get Along
Unanimously three cheers for
Mr Bing Crosby

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:05 (three months ago) Permalink

T-Rex - "Children of the Revolution", "Born to Boogie"
David Bowie - "Lady Stardust" (originally titled "Song for Marc"), "Star Man"

"Children of the Revolution" was a song they were working on at the time so it seems like this is Bowie giving a shout out to his friend's new single. "Starman" I always felt was about "Get It On" and T-Rex blowing up. "Born to boogie" was the movie/live show they were making with Ringo at the time, for sure he knew about it. thus "Let all the children boogie"

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:13 (three months ago) Permalink

Robyn Hitchcock - Listening to the Higsons

About mishearing the lyrics of “gotta let this heat out”

JoeStork, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 22:33 (three months ago) Permalink


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