The video game screenwriter once said Rhianna Pratchettdaughter of the famous Terry pratchett, author of the delirious Disco World, who wanted to dedicate himself to video games as soon as he realized that it was the only universe in which you could fight back, that is, hitting back. He was barely eight years old, and the one he was playing with was his father. Rhianna told herself, that she didn’t get along at all with the other girls at school, that she had finally found a place where, if someone did something to you, all you had to do was press a button and that someone would get what they deserved. It would seem that today’s hyper-connected and hyper-recreational world is a version of that concept, which was never exclusive to the video game world. Today we are going to take a look at the calls answer songsThat is, the response songs, or also, the songs that hit back, and that have existed since the world is world. If the world is world since pop music exists.
Although, as such, the answer song became popular in the 1950s – specifically, it could be said that it was born with the six responses the Hound dog original, the one that Big Mama Thorton sang in 1953, being the most famous of them all, Bear cat, by Rufus Thomas—, was born much earlier, specifically in 1902. Arthur Collins sang the answer that William Jerome, to the rhythm of a prehistoric rockabilly, had written to Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Homeby Hughie Cannon, answering himself, for Collins had played that one too. The answer could be understood as a kind of shouldering, not in vain was it entitled I Wonder Why Bill Bailey Don’t Come Home. Although if there is one answer song famous before the most fruitful decades of the 1950s and 1960s is the This Land is Your Land of Woody GuthrieConceived as a response to the American anthem, the God Bless Americaby Irving Berlin. In fact, the first title was: God Blessed America for Me.
What happened in the fifties, and especially after the six more or less playful and profitable responses to Hound dog – in that case it was the success of the song that multiplied the shots – it was that the soloists and often, above all, the female lyricists, took the response song as a kind of sly and apparently naive but effective weapon in their battle against the absolute preponderance of the masculine. Carole King, who before launching his own career, composed a good part of the classics of the decade —such as the Will you love me tomorrow of the Shirelles, or the He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss) -, became an expert in the field in the late fifties. its Oh Neil! is a response to Oh Carol! of his ex, Neil Sedaka, and the curious Short Mortto Tall paul by Annette Funicello. Although there were the four responses to Get a Job from The Silhouettes, including the Got a job, by The Miracles, the ones that took the fame of the late decade.
Although, as such, the answer song it became popular in the 1950s, it was born much earlier, specifically in 1902
With the passage of time, fever answer song grew and grew. Especially in the more narrative field. The country world was filled with stories within stories that made reference to other small worlds created by a previous artist. An example to illustrate it: (I’m the Girl from) Wolverton Mountainby Jo Ann Campbell stood up to the Wolverton Mountain by Claude King. Although where his bill really became popular was in the world of hit pop is not necessarily huge. He Back in the USSR The Beatles (1968) answered the Back in the USA by Chuck Berry (1959), or already in the seventies, the famous Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd, was conceived as a shot at the Alabama of Neil Young, and they say, too, his Southern man. An even more famous case? In the eighties, the singular Love Will Tear Us Apart, of Joy Division, it was confessed, in part, as a counterpart to the Love will keep us togetherby Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield.
In fact, in the eighties there are artists like Lydia Murdock who became famous more for having answered a hyper-known song than for their own merits as artists. She, specifically, responded with Superstar to the Billie jean by Michael Jackson. In his same league played Peter Schilling, who dared to measure the Space Oddity of David Bowie with his Major Tom (Coming Home). And if in the eighties everything was glitter and trying to achieve some kind of fame by flirting with hits from the moment, in the nineties, things got a little more serious, and the answers always had some kind of criticism in mind. For example, the wonderful Semi Charmed Life Third Eye Blind (1997) was the precarious version of the Walk on the Wild Side Lou Reed, while The Offspring told the Who that the kids weren’t right: their The Kids Aren’t Alright (1998) rewritten the The Kids Are Alright (1965) of those.
In the eighties there are artists like Lydia Murdock who became famous more for having answered a hyper-known song than for their own merits as artists.
And what about the gender issue? Woman, of Neneh Cherry (1996) shot at the It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World James Brown (1966), and years later, the very Amy Winehouse did the same with Me and Mrs. Jones Billy Paul without even changing the title. Lady Gaga signed in 2008 a Boys, Boys, Boys presented as the female counterpart of testosterone Girls, Girls, Girls by Mötley Crüe (1987). Although there were also, in that first decade of the 2000s, declarations of love such as that of Travis Tritt to Sheryl Crow when responding to his Strong Enough with Strong Enough to Be Your Man; and the, today, most charming song answer of the indie world the Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken, which Tracyanne Campbell, the leader of Camera Obscura, composed in response to Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions (1984).
Although in the world of rap it is quite common for a song to contain parts of another and respond in some way to previous accusations or notes, among those who have crossed certain excesses – and have tried to laugh at the absurdity of a hermetic position – highlight the answer songs that were dedicated, among them, Pet Shop Boys and Eminem. The Pet Shop Boys composed The Night I Fell in Love as an attempt to laugh at Stan, Eminem, and incidentally, his alleged homophobia, and the rapper wrote something back against the couple in Canibitch. Anything closer? California Gurls is Katy Perry’s answer to Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and the first time both songs, the original and his answer, ended up at number one.
And the world has gone around so many times in the century and something else that makes the phenomenon exist that among the last answer songs there are even masculine responses to feminine themes, such as the rewriting of Christine and the Queens of Sorry from Beyoncé. What has happened in the meantime in Spain? Little, but curiously not too long ago, a particular response song that had a lot of feminist appeal became fashionable: the one that Travis Birds made of the classic by Joaquín Sabina 19 days and 500 nights, titled 19 days and 500 nights later. The song was the same song — it used the same melody — but the point of view was that of María, the girl that Sabina missed in her song and that didn’t quite stand out. It is precisely the subject of Birds that closes this small sample of songs that narratively returned the blow.