I love making music compilations and playlists. I do a lot of them with my own music collection, but you can also do it with the main music streaming sites, like Spotify. I’ve done heaps of them covering all kinds of genres, from specific decades to heavy metal to punk, and even comps centered on moods like mellow and chillout, and I even did one called In The Warm Room (guess what mood that is!).
The most recent playlist I’m working on is set around what I call ‘answer songs’. You know, songs that comment on or are sequels of sorts to other, usually more well-known songs. There was quite a fad for them back in the sixties, and a lot of the comp is based around them. Also, you can find a lot of lists of these kinds of songs on the internet. I’ve found them pretty useful in my own research on the subject, and in collecting songs I didn’t have.
I thought it would be a good idea to do a list of my own here of some of the answer songs I know that I haven’t seen anywhere in my research on the net. A lot of them are from obscure girl groups and garage bands from the sixties. I just love that era. Here they are…
Why Don’t The Boy Leave Me Alone/My Boyfriend’s Back/The Guy With The Black Eye – The Angels
This is an interesting one, as it includes not one but two answer songs, and one’s actually a prequel. They’re all on the My Boyfriend’s Back album by The Angels (obviously not the Australian rock band!). There’s at least one other song on the album – Has Anyone Seen My Boyfriend – that could also be part of the story. The Angel’s songwriting and production team were clearly keen on milking the hit for all it was worth. Though interestingly, The Guy With The Black Eye is the only other one that copies it musically.
I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles/Only Seventeen – The Beattle-ettes
Only Seventeen is found on a number of girl group comps, including Girls In The Garage Vol One and Girls With Guitars. The song was written and produced by Shadow Morton, who worked with the Shangri Las. It’s been suggested that The Beattle-ettes (the spelling comes from early mispelled US label Beatles singles) were in fact the Shangs. Who knows? The song manages to reference not only I Saw Her Standing There, but also I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You.
I Wanna Hold Your Hand – The Beatles/I’ll Let You Hold My Hand – The Bootles
Under The Boardwalk/Sand In My Shoes – The Drifters
Some lists on the net have suggested the Drifter’s own Up On The Roof as a sequel (or prequel) to Under The Boardwalk. The lesser known Sand In My Shoes is a much more obvious sequel to it, both lyrically and musically, I think.
I Can’t Help Myself/It’s The Same Old Song – Four Tops
Let’s Have A Party/Man We Had A Party – Wanda Jackson
Runaway/Hats Off To Larry – Del Shannon
Snoopy Versus The Red Baron/Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen
The Royal Guardsmen did a bunch of Snoopys. I’m especially fond of the Christmas one, and Snoopy For President!
Rat’s Revenge Pt1/Pt2 – The Rats
Gloria – Them/Melvin – The Belles
School Is A Gas – Wheel Men/School Is A Drag – Superstocks
Little Old Lady From Pasadena – Beach Boys/Masked Grandma – California Suns
He’s So Fine – The Chiffons/The Doo Lang – Andrea Carroll
Please Mr Postman – The Marvelettes/Pretty Little Words – Tawney Williams
The Doo Ronn Ronn – The Crystals/Don’t Cha Know – The Lockets
Blues For Baby And Me/High Flying Bird – Elton John
As far as I know no one’s ever suggested that these two songs, both from Elton’s awesome Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album, are a match. But in my mind they always go together. In ‘Blues’ the protagonist turns dark and possessive when he gets his girl away to the coast, like he’s trapped her there; and in High Flying Bird she finally escapes from him. Both songs are beautifully ambiguous, with ‘Bird’ being especially poetic in its (Bernie Taupin-penned) lyrics. In fact, thinking about these two songs is what got me started on this project!
Okie From Muskogee – Merle Haggard/Texan Love Song – Elton John
Another one with an Elton John connection. There have apparently been a number of answer songs to Merle’s ode to the redneck point of view, including Hippy From Olema by The Youngloods. Again, I don’t know if Elton’s (and Bernie’s) song has ever been linked to it, but I’m making it here right now. Some have said that Merle was being intentionally ironic with his song, but I think the jury’s still out on that one. There can be no doubt, however, that the irony in Bernie’s lyrics on Texan Love Song is intentional.
The Newcastle Song – Bob Hudson/Rack Off Normie – Maureen Elkner
These two will be recognisable only to Australians of a certain vintage, like me!
Who’ll Stop The Rain – CCR/Déjà Vu All Over Again – John Fogerty
John Fogerty has returned to his classic Creedence song a number of times, including Centrefield’s I Saw It On TV, but Déjà Vu seems the most direct reference yet.