Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Roughly 10 years ago, you discussed "answer" records made in the 1960s. Have any from the 1950s been added to that list?
—Cary Graham, Venice, Calif.

DEAR CARY: Definitely! In fact we have more than tripled our 2010 list. It now lists over 100 records and covers 20 years (1950-1969).

An indisputable "answer" tune responds to a story established by the original hit. Most were by a singer of the opposite gender, and likely released soon after the tune being answered. Not included are parodies or sequels, though some hybrid tracks cross over and end up being a judgement call.

Songs are listed by year of the original release, followed by the answer title and artist. Some have more than one person either using the same answer title, or each with a different title:

1952: "Back Street Affair" (Webb Pierce) / "Paying for That Back Street Affair" (Kitty Wells)
1952: "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" (Skeets McDonald) / "I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes" (Goldie Hill - The Golden Hillbilly)
1952: "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" (Hank Williams) / "I'm Yvonne (From the Bayou)" (Goldie Hill - The Golden Hillbilly)
1952: "Talk to Your Heart" (Ray Price) / "Why Talk to Your Heart" (Goldie Hill - The Golden Hillbilly)
1952: "The Wild Side of Life" (Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys) / "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" (Kitty Wells)
1953: "Hey Joe!" (Carl Smith) / "Hey Joe [Answer]" (Kitty Wells)
1953: "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" (The Davis Sisters) / "I Found Out More Than You Ever Knew" (Betty Cody)
1953: "Hound Dog" (Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton) / "(The Answer to Hound Dog) Bear Cat" (Rufus HOUND DOG Thomas Jr.)
1953: "Mexican Joe" (Jim Reeves) / "Marriage of Mexican Joe" (Carolyn Bradshaw)
1953: "A Dear John Letter" (Jean Shepard [recitation by Ferlin Huskey]) / "Forgive Me John" (Jean Shepard [recitation by Ferlin Huskey])
1953: "There Stands the Glass" (Webb Pierce) / "Please Throw Away the Glass" (Betty Cody)
1953: "Yesterday's Girl" (Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys) / "I'm Yesterday's Girl" (Goldie Hill - The Golden Hillbilly)
1954: "I Really Don't Want to Know" (Eddy Arnold) / "I Really Want You to Know" (Betty Cody)
1955: "Work With Me Annie" (The Midnighters) / "The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)" (Etta James and "The Peaches")
1955: "The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)" (Etta James and "The Peaches") / "Henry's Got Flat Feet (Can't Dance No More)" Midnighters
1957: "Got My Mo-Jo Working (But It Just Won't Work On You)" (Ann Cole) / "I've Got Nothing Working Now (But My Real Old Fashioned Love)" (Ann Cole)
1957: "Fraulein" (Bobby Helms) / "(I'll Always Be Your) Fraulein" (Kitty Wells)
1957: "Geisha Girl" (Hank Locklin) / "Lost to a Geisha Girl" (Skeeter Davis)
1958: "Get a Job" (The Silhouettes) / "Got a Job" (The Miracles)
1958: "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" (Johnny Cash) / "Return of the Teenage Queen" (Tommy Tucker)
1958: "The All American Boy" (Bill Parsons) / "Bandstand Baby" (Jan & Jerry)
1959: "Tall Paul" (Annette) / "Short Mort" (Carole King)
1959: "Who's That Knocking" (The Genies) / "It's Me Knocking" (Jeanie and Her Boy Friends)
1959: "The Long Black Veil" (Lefty Frizzell) / "My Long Black Veil" (Marijohn Wilkin)
1960: "Burning Bridges" (Jack Scott) / "You Burned the Bridges" (Bobbie Jean)
1960: "Tell Laura I Love Her" (Ray Peterson) / "Tell Tommy I Miss Him" (Marilyn Michaels)
1960: "Please Help Me, I'm Falling" (Hank Locklin) / "(I Can't Help You) I'm Falling, Too" (Skeeter Davis)
1960: "Save the Last Dance for Me" (The Drifters) / "I'll Save the Last Dance for You" (Damita Jo)
1960: "Are You Lonesome To-night?" (Elvis Presley) / "Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight" (Dodie Stevens) (Thelma Carpenter)
1960: "Chain Gang" (Sam Cooke) / "The Sound of My Man (On the Chain Gang)" (Theola Kilgore)
1960: "He'll Have to Go" (Jim Reeves) / "He'll Have to Stay" (Jeanne Black)
1960: "You Talk Too Much" (Joe Jones) / "I Talked Too Much" (Valerie Carr)
1960: "There's Something on Your Mind" (Bobby Marchan) / "There's Nothing on My Mind" (The Teen Queens)
1960: "Shop Around" (The Miracles) / "Don't Let Him Shop Around" (Debbie Dean)
1960: "Alley-Oop" (Hollywood Argyles) / "Alley Oop Was a Two-Dab Man" (Gary Paxton/Hollywood Argyles)
1960: "Calendar Girl" (Neil Sedaka) / "Calendar Boy" (Stacy Ames)
1960: "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" (Brian Hyland) / "Four Shy Girls (In Their Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikinis)" (The Girlfriends)
1961: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (The Shirelles) / "Yes I Will Love You Tomorrow" (Jon E. Holiday)
1961: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (The Shirelles) / "Not Just Tomorrow, But Always" (Bertell Dache)
1961: "Hot Rod Lincoln" (Charlie Ryan and the Timberline Riders) / "Hot Rod Hades" (Charlie Ryan and the Timberline Riders)
1961: "Daddy's Home" (Shep and the Limelites) / "Sorry, Daddy" (The Sweethearts)
1961: "Daddy's Home" (Shep and the Limelites) / "Daddy's Going Away Again" (The Harps)
1961: "Daddy's Home" (Shep and the Limelites) / "Daddy's Home, But Mama's Gone" (The Monotones)
1961: "Mother-in-Law" (Ernie K. Doe) / "Son-in-Law" (The Blossoms)
1961: "Mother-in-Law" (Ernie K. Doe) / "Brother-in-Law (He's A Moocher)" (Paul Peek)
1961: "Tower of Strength" (Gene McDaniels) / "You Don't Have to Be a Tower of Strength" (Gloria Lynne)
1961: "Wooden Heart" (Joe Dowell) / "(I Know That) Your Heart's Not Made of Wood" (Terri Dean) (Marie Ann)
1961: "Take Good Care of My Baby" (Bobby Vee) / "He Takes Good Care of Your Baby" (Carole King)
1961: "Take Good Care of My Baby" (Bobby Vee) / "You Should Know I'm Still Your Baby" (Sammi Lynn)
1961: "Take Good Care of My Baby" (Bobby Vee) / "I'll Take Good Care of Your Baby" (Ralph Emery)
1961: "Hit the Road Jack" (Ray Charles) / "Well, I Told You" (The Chantels)
1961: "Fool #1" (Brenda Lee) / "No, You're Not the Fool" (Marc Stewart)
1961: "Runaround Sue" (Dion) / "I'm No Run Around" (Ginger Davis and the Snaps)
1961: "Runaround Sue" (Dion) / "Stay-at-Home Sue" (Linda Laurie)
1961: "Runaround Sue" (Dion) / "Runaround Sue's Getting Married" (Danny Jordan)
1961: "Stand By Me" (Ben E. King) / "I'll Be There" (Damita Jo)
1961: "I Like It Like That" (Chris Kenner) / "I Don't Like It Like That" (The Bobbettes)
1961: "Jimmy's Girl" (Johnny Tillotson) / "I'm No Longer Jimmy's Girl" (Betty Jayne and the Teenettes)
1961: "Tossin' and Turnin'" (Bobby Lewis) / "Walkin' and Talkin'" (Venus)
1961: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (The Tokens) / "Please Help" (The Dukays)
1961: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (The Tokens) / "The Tiger's Wide Awake" (The Romeos)
1961: "Walk on By" (Leroy Van Dyke) / "I'll Just Walk on By" (Margie Singleton)
1961: "Hello Walls" (Faron Young) / "Hello Fool" (Ralph Emery)
1961: "Big Bad John" (Jimmy Dean) / "Small Sad Sam" (Phil McLean)
1961: "Little Sister" (Elvis Presley) / "Hey Memphis" (LaVern Baker)
1961: "Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" (Barry Mann) / "I Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" (Frankie Lymon)
1962: "Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello" (Elvis Presley) / "Just Tell Him Jane Said Hello" (Gerri Granger)
1962: "Roses Are Red (My Love)" (Bobby Vinton) / "Long as the Rose Is Red" (Florraine Darlin)
1962: "Bring It on Home to Me" (Sam Cooke) / "I'll Bring It on Home to You" (Carla Thomas)
1962: "Sherry" (The 4 Seasons) / "Jerry (I'm Your Sherry)" (Tracey Dey)
1962 "500 Miles" (Peter, Paul & Mary) / "He's Comin' Home" (Mary Taylor)
1962: "Duke of Earl" (Gene Chandler) / "Duchess of Earl" (The Pearlettes)
1962: "Duke of Earl" (Gene Chandler) / "I Stopped the Duke of Earl (The Upfronts)
1962: "Wolverton Mountain" (Claude King) / "I'm the Girl from Wolverton Mountain" (Jo Ann Campbell)
1962: "My Wife Can't Cook" (Lonnie Russ) / "So What if I Can't Cook" (Little Alice)
1962: "You Beat Me to the Punch" (Mary Wells) / "You Threw a Lucky Punch" (Gene Chandler)
1962: "Bobby's Girl" (Marcie Blane) / "Stay Away From Bobby" (The Sherry Sisters)
1962: "Charlie's Shoes" (Billy Walker) / "The Answer to Charlie's Shoes" (Jonie Mosby)
1962: "Good Luck Charm" (Elvis Presley) / "Don't Wanna Be Another Good Luck Charm" (Jo - of Judy & Jo)
1962: "Please Don't Ask About Barbara" (Bobby Vee) / "Is It True What They Say About Barbara?" (Mike Regal)
1962: "She's Got You" (Patsy Cline) / "She Can Have You" (Judy - of Judy & Jo)
1963: "Mama Didn't Lie" (Jan Bradley) / "Mama Didn't Know" (Major Lance)
1963: "Easier Said Than Done" (The Essex) / "I'll Believe It When I See It" (The Sierras)
1963: "Sugar Shack" (Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs) / "Sugar Shack Queen" (Georgia Lynn)
1963: "Mr. Bass Man" (Johnny Cymbal) / "Mr. Tenor Man" (Lou Christie)
1963: "Detroit City" (Bobby Bare) / "Why Don'tcha Come Home" (Shirley Ray)
1963: "500 Miles Away From Home" (Bobby Bare) / "He's Comin' Home" (Mary Taylor With Tommy Allsup Group)
1963: "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp)" - Alan Sherman / "Hello Melvin (This is Mama)" (Sandra Gould)
1964: "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (The Beatles) / "Yes!!! You Can Hold My Hand" (The Beatlettes)
1964: "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (The Beatles) / "I'll Let You Hold My Hand" (The Bootles)
1964: "Mr. Lonely" (Bobby Vinton) / "Little Miss Lonely" (Mikie Harris)
1964: "Ringo" (Lorne Greene) / "Ringo's Revenge" (Robin Garrett)
1964: "Rag Doll" (The 4 Seasons) / "Society Girl" (The Rag Dolls)
1965: "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" (Herman's Hermits) / "Mrs. James I'm Mrs. Brown's Daughter" (Connie Holiday)
1965: "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" (Herman's Hermits) / "A Frightful Situation" (Mrs. Brown's Lovely Daughter Carol)
1965: "King of the Road" (Roger Miller) / "Queen of the House" (Jody Miller)
1965: "Count Me In" (Gary Lewis and the Playboys) / "I'll Count You In" (Little Jonna Jaye)
1965: "This Diamond Ring" (Gary Lewis and the Playboys) / "Gary, Please Don't Sell My Diamond Ring" (Wendy Hill)
1965: "Eve of Destruction" (Barry McGuire) / "Dawn of Correction" (The Spokesmen)
1965: "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" (James Brown) / "Mama's Got a Bag of Her Own" (Anna King)
1965: "Hank on Sloopy" (The McCoys) / "Sloopy's Gonna Hang On" (The Debs)
1965: "The Universal Soldier" (Donovan) / "The Universal Coward" (Jan Berry)
1965: "Yes Mr. Peters" (Roy Drusky & Priscilla Mitchell) / "Hurry, Mr. Peters" (Lorene Mann & Justin Tubb)
1965: "Let's Lock the Door (And Throw Away the Key)" (Jay & the Americans) / "Knock Down the Door" (The Takeoffs)
1966: "Almost Persuaded" (David Houston) / "He Was Almost Persuaded" (Donna Harris)
1966: "Evil on Your Mind" (Jan Howard) / "Evil Off My Mind" (Burl Ives)
1966: "Lil' Red Riding Hood" (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs) / "(Hey There) Big Bad Wolf" (The Sham-ettes)
1966: "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" (Napoleon XIV) / "They Took You Away (I'm Glad, I'm Glad)" (Josephine) (Josef) (Teddy & Darrel)
1966: "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" (James Brown) / "It's a Man's, Woman's World" (Irma Thomas)
1966: "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Percy Sledge) / "When a Woman Loves a Man" (Esther Phillips)
1966: "The 'In' Crowd" (Dobie Gray) / "I'm in With the Out Crowd" (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs)
1966: "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" (The Royal Guardsmen) / "The Red Baron's Revenge" (Delicatessen)
1968: "Honey" (Bobby Goldsboro) / "Honey (I Miss You Too)" (Margaret Lewis)
1968: "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line" (Waylon Jennings) / "Only Mama That'll Walk the Line" (Jean Shepard)
1968: "Harper Valley P.T.A." (Jeannie C. Riley) / "Harper Valley P.T.A. Gossip" (Effie Smith)
1969: "A Boy Named Sue" (Johnny Cash) / "Father of a Boy Named Sue" (Johnny Cash)
1969: "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" (Kenny Rogers and the First Edition) / "Billy, I've Got to Go to Town" (Geraldine Stevens)
1969: "Okie From Muskogee" (Merle Haggard) / "Hippie From Olema" (The Youngbloods)

IZ ZAT SO? Two answer songs reached No. 1 on the C&W charts: "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," by Kitty Wells, and Goldie Hill's "I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes."

The highest ranked answer on the Pop charts is Jeanne Black's "He'll Have to Stay." It reached No. 2, and "He'll Have to Go" (Jim Reeves) was No. 1 ... both on Music Vendor.

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