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An answer song, response song or answer record, is, as the name suggests, 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 extremely popular in country music in the 1950s and 1960s, most often as female responses to an original hit by a male artist.
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. Answer songs also played a part in the battle over turf in The Bridge Wars. Sometimes, an answer record imitated the original very closely and occasionally, a hit song would be followed up by the same artist.
"I Wonder Why Bill Bailey Don't Come Home" was written by William Jerome and recorded by Arthur Collins in 1902 as an answer to "(Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey", published by Hughie Cannon and recorded by Collins earlier the same year.
"I Used to Be Afraid to Come Home in the Dark" was recorded by Billy Murray (singer) in 1909 as a response to his own 1908 hit, "I'm Afraid to Come Home in the Dark"
"I Got a Job" (1957) by The Miracles, "I Found a Job" by The Heartbeats (1958), "I Got A Job" by The Tempos, and "I Got Fired" by The Mistakes, were all responses to The Silhouettes's "Get a Job" (1957).
"Blackhead Chinaman" (1963) was Prince Buster's response to Derrick Morgan's "Housewives Choice" (1961). Specifically, Buster claimed that Morgan and producer Leslie Kong stole hooks that Buster had created. Morgan responded with "Blazing Fire" and "No Raise, No Praise". The musical feud reportedly engulfed Jamaican culture to a level where the government ordered the two to appear in public together to calm the frenzied nation.
"Erasure-ish" EP (1992) was Björn Again's answer to Erasure's previous ABBA tribute, "Abba-esque". "Erasure-ish" features two Erasure tracks ("A Little Respect" and "Stop!") performed in the style of ABBA.
"Good Idea At The Time" (2005) on OK Go's "Oh No" album, was an answer song to the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968): in it, the Devil argues that the historical atrocities enumerated in the original were entirely of human doing.
"A Baker's Tale" by Dean Friedman (2009, released 2010 on the album Submarine Races) was a response to "The Bastard Son of Dean Friedman" by Half Man Half Biscuit (1987, on the album Back Again in the DHSS). In 2010, Friedman performed his song at a Half Man Half Biscuit concert; and accompanied the band during a performance of theirs.
B. Lee Cooper and Wayne S. Haney, Response Recordings: An Answer Song Discography, 1950-1990, Scarecrow Press, 1990, ISBN978-0810823426 (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