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Encyclopedia > Answer song

An answer song is a song that refers directly or indirectly to another song, or is meant as a reply to another song: these are not songs which simply refer to other artists or to songs in general, or include samples or riffs from other songs. The lyrics refer directly to another particular song. Songs are listed in alphabetical order.

Songs that refer to themselves should be listed at list of self_referential songs.


0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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  • "Amsterdam" by Guster contains the lyrics "From your red balloon you were / a super high tech jetfighter," a reference to "99 Luftballoons" by Nena.
  • "The Answer Is Clear" by Peter Murphy is an answer to former Bauhaus bandmate Daniel Ash's song "The Movement of Fear" (recorded by Ash's side project Tones on Tail), which was a song written in second person to Murphy.
"We'll dance off both our shoes,
When they play those Jelly Roll Blues"
  • "Ashes To Ashes" by David Bowie makes reference to the character of Major Tom from his earlier "Space Oddity"


  • "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker" by Prince includes the line "'Oh, my favorite song,' she said / And it was Joni singing 'Help Me, I Think I'm Falling.'"
  • "The Best Song In the World" (aka "Tribute" in the album version) by Tenacious D refers obliquely to "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin; the stage version contains lots of Stairway riffs; the album version, for legal reasons, contains much less


  • "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song" by Jeffrey Lewis refers to "Chelsea Hotel #2" by Leonard Cohen.
  • "Complete Control" by The Clash begins "They said, release 'Remote Control', but we didn't want it on the label," referring to CBS Records releasing their song "Remote Control" as a single against the band's wishes.
  • "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" by The Spinners refers to their song "I'll Be Around".
"If you need me, I'll be around."


  • "Daddy's Home" by Shep & the Limelites refers to "A Thousand Miles Away" by The Heartbeats, for whom the self-same Shep was also the lead singer.
Daddy's home - to stay
I'm not a thousand miles away
  • "Danny Says" by The Ramones refers to their earlier "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker", their only U.S. hit single of the 1970s:
Listening to Sheena on the radio,
oh, oh, oh


  • "Extraordinary" by Better than Ezra includes the following lines, each at the end of one of its two verses:
Just like that AC/DC song
Come on, baby, shake me all night long
. . .
But just like that Barenaked Ladies song
I'm hot like wasabi
When I'm next to your body


  • "Fever of Love" by The Sweet refers to "Good Vibrations" and "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys
  • "F.U.R.B. (Fuck U Right Back)" by Frankee answers Eamon's "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)".
  • According to critics, "Fourth Time Around" is Bob Dylan's answer to The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)." While Dylan doesn't directly refer to the Beatles song, his song is uncannily similar in melody and subject matter.


"Played them all the old songs, thought that's why they came
"No one heard the music, we didn't look the same
"I said hello to "Mary Lou", she belongs to me
"When I sang a song about a honky-tonk, it was time to leave"
"I told you about strawberry fields
you know the place where nothing is real"
. . .
"I told you about the walrus and me, man
you know we're as close as can be, man
Well here's another clue for you all,
The walrus was Paul."
. . .
"I told you about the fool on the hill
I tell you man he's living there still"


  • "He'll Have to Stay" Jeannie Black answers "He'll Have To Go" by Jim Reeves.
  • "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal" by They Might Be Giants refers to their previous songs "The World's Address", "Rabid Child", and "Chess Piece Face", using an "I told you 'bout" construction similar to the inter-song references in The Beatles' "Glass Onion".
  • "Hit or Miss" by New Found Glory refers to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" with the line "Remember the time we realized 'Thriller' was our favorite song?"
  • "Hope" from R.E.M.'s Up uses the same lyrical structure as Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." Because of this, Cohen is credited as a co-writer of the song.
  • The title of "How He Wrote Elastica Man" by Elastica, featuring guest Mark E. Smith on vocals, refers to the song "How I Wrote Elastic Man" by Smith's band The Fall. (Note that "Elastic Man" is not actually the title of a song Smith ever wrote.)


  • "If You Want To Sex Me Up" by TCF Crew is an answer song to "I Want To Sex You Up" by Color Me Badd.
  • "I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)" by Ben Vaughn refers to Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry"
  • "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels" by Kitty Wells is an answer song to "The Wild Side of Life" by Hank Thompson.
  • "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi refers to Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way" in the line "like Frankie said I did it my way". It also contains the line "for Tommy and Gina, who never backed down", refering to the couple in the earlier Bon Jovi song "Living On A Prayer".
  • The title, "I Wrote Holden Caulfield" by Screeching Weasel, is a reference to the title of Green Day's "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?"


  • "Jet Boy, Jet Girl" by Captain Sensible and the Softies inludes the line "We made it on a Ballroom Blitz," referring to the Sweet hit "Ballroom Blitz."
  • "Judy's Turn To Cry" by Lesley Gore refers to "It's My Party" ("It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...") also by Lesley Gore:
"'Cause now it's Judy's turn to cry, Judy's turn to cry, Judy's turn to cry-y-y-y-y-y, 'cause Johnny's come back (Johnny's come back, come back) to me."
  • 'Julian Cope Is Dead' from the 1986 Bill Drummond album 'The Man' is an answer to the song 'Bill Drummond Said' from Julian Cope's 1984 album 'Fried'.




"'Slim Anus', you damn right slim anus. I don't get fucked in mine like you two little flaming faggots."
"I guess, Michael Jackson was right, "You Are Not Alone""
"Frankie Lane, he was singing 'Jezebel', I pinned an Iron Cross to my lapel"
"So we are dancing close, the band is playing 'Stardust', balloons and paper streamers floating down on us"


"Then he joked 'hey man,
your name isn't Stan, is it?
We should be together!'"
  • "No Pigeons" by Sporty Thievz is an answer song to "No Scrubs" by TLC.



  • "Peggy Sue Got Married" by Buddy Holly and the Crickets refers to their hit "Peggy Sue." In the later song, Holly relates a rumor that the girl who was once the object of his affections has wed someone else.
  • "Play It All Night Long" by Warren Zevon is about living in the rural South and includes the line "Sweet Home Alabama / Play that dead band's song." This refers to "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd (see below) and the plane crash that killed Ronnie VanZant and two other band members.
  • "Pull Over" by Trina refers to, and answers, a number of recent and classic "ass songs," songs that proclaim the beauty of women with large buttocks. Among these are:
    • "Thong Song" by Sisqo: "Dumps in the truck, thighs like what / Ain't a damn ho' got more booty in the butt / Sisqo made that song when he seen me in a thong th-thong thong thong"
    • "Whoa" by Black Rob: "Turn on the cameras start the freak show / This ass even make Black Rob say whoa"
    • "Back That Azz Up" by Juvenile: "I got a fat ass playa n***a can't pass up / Juvenile couldn't even back this azz up"



"Radio's playing some forgotten song, Brenda Lee's 'Coming on Strong'"
"But it's cool for Tom Green to hump a dead moose / My bum is on your lips, my bum is on your lips / And if I'm lucky you might just give it a little kiss"
"They got the Discovery Channel don't they? / We ain't nothin' but mammals"
  • "The Return of Jackie and Judy" by The Ramones refers to their previous song "Judy Is A Punk"
  • "Roll With Me, Henry" (also known as "The Wallflower") by Etta James is a reply to "Work With me, Annie" by Hank Ballard; it was covered for the pop market by Georgia Gibbs as "Dance With me, Henry". Ballard also recorded his own answer with "Annie had a Baby".
  • "Roxanne's Revenge" by Roxanne Shanté is a rap song replying to "Roxanne Roxanne" by U.T.F.O.
"Oh, Roxy - You're my Maggie May"
"It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down, I had the radio on, I was drivin'. Trees flew by, me and Del were singin' little 'Runaway', I was flyin'."


  • "Sara" by Bob Dylan refers to his own song.
Stayin' up for days in the Chelsea Hotel,
Writin' "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" for you.
  • "Sequel" by Harry Chapin is a literal sequel to his song "Taxi," continuing the story of the characters from the earlier song.
"Johnny was a school boy when he heard his first Beatles song. 'Love Me Do', I think it was and from there it didn't take him long. Got himself a guitar, used to play every night. Now he's in a rock & roll outfit, and everything's all right."
  • "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron", a 1966 hit by The Royal Guardsmen was followed by two sequels: "Return of the Red Baron" and "Snoopy's Christmas".
  • "The Song Is Over" by The Who incorporates the chorus of their earlier song "Pure and Easy".
"It's like that Phil Collins song, y'know, 'In the Air Tonight', you could've saved me from drowning"
All summer long we were grooving in the sand
Everybody just kept on playing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
Well I heard Mr. Young sing about her
Well I heard old Neil put her down
Well I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow


Just like Ronnie said, "Be my little baby"
"Roy Orbison singing for the lonely. Hey that's me and I want you only"



  • "Van Halen" by Nerf Herder refers to several different Van Halen albums and songs by name.
"Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn? Remember how she said that we would meet again some sunny day. Vera! Vera! what has become of you? Does anybody else in here feel the way I do?"
  • "Volcano Girls" by Veruca Salt refers to "Seether" by Veruca Salt, and mimics the "Glass Onion" reference to "I am the Walrus":
"I told you 'bout the seether before
You know, the one that's neither or nor
Well here's another clue if you please....
The seether's Louise"


  • "Walkin' To New Orleans" by Fats Domino refers to his earlier hit "Ain't That A Shame".

"Jumpin' Jack Flash"

"There's a young man in the corner playing "Crazy" all night long"
  • "Why Must I Be Sad?" by They Might Be Giants, apparently a song about an Alice Cooper fan, has the titles of nine Cooper songs and three albums in it (plus one more that was the title of both a song and an album). It also states that the narrator "understand[s] what Alice said".
"The radio is playing all the usual
What's a Wonderwall anyway?"



  • "You Should Really Know" by The Pirates is an answer to "I Don't Wanna Know" by Mario Winans. Both tracks feature heavy sampling from the same Enya track


See Also

External links

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