Listening Room columnist
Driving home last Thursday Night ( Feb 25) during the snowstorm, Lynyrd Skynyd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” came on the
radio. A great song. And an answer song to two Neil Young Songs: “Southern Man” and “Alabama.”
So the idea came to me is that I need to do a piece on Answer Songs.
As the name implies, an answer song is a song made in answer to a previous song, most often by another artist.
In R&B, answer songs were very popular from the 1930’s right up through the mid 1960;s. They were also popular
in Country Music from the 1950’s through the mid 1970’s. Today, answer songs continue mostly in rap & hip hop
music primarily in the continuation of a feud between performers or rivals.
Here is a quick list of some notable answer songs:
• “This Land is Your Land” was Woody Guthrie’s response to “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin.
• “Yes, I Am Experienced” by Eric Burdon and the Animals was a direct response to Jimi’s Hendrix ” Are your Experienced”
• Barry McGuire’s left-wing protest song “Eve of Destruction” was answered by the right-wing “Dawn of Correction” by the Spokesmen. Spokesmen member David White was a member of Danny and the Juniors.
• “London Boys” by Johnny Thunders was the answer to the Sex Pistols “New York”, which was an attack on the New York Dolls.
• “Hound Dog” by Big Mama Thornton was answer by Rufus Thomas “Bear Cat”
• John Lennon’s “How do you Sleep” was a response & jab to Paul McCartney’s “Too Many People”
• “James Brown is Still Alive” was Holy Noise’s answer to L.A. Style’s “James Brown is Dead”
• “Empire State of Mind’ ( Part 2) by Alicia Keys was an answer to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”