The Story of Response Songs and Their Popularity

Have you ever come across or uncovered a melodious middle finger which was hidden in plain sight and yet we mortals failed to see, guess or even make an assumption?

Sometimes, we can’t imagine or open our brains to muses which are often more fickle than we would actually like to imagine. For once, the muses behind the lyrics or the writing of some of the greatest songs in music history are more of a charade or something really lacking inspiration than we actually imagined it to be. For instance, your favorite rock and roll tune you so loved might have been inspired by something as innocuous as the favorite brand of soft drink of the band’s member.

Musicians are also like regular people; that too in a lot of ways. They do have awesome jobs with fluorescent lighting and tiny cool cubicles, but they sometimes connect with random songs they might hear on a radio or somewhere else. The song doesn’t really have to be an iconic hit; it just has to resonate with them and then they feel a need to express those emotions in a crafted chorus. Inspiration comes from anywhere you know. And maybe the particular song they heard somewhere else inspired so much anger or hatred in them that they cannot wait to run to the recording studio and perhaps assault the creators of that song verbally. Perhaps a song called people terrible and the musicians felt it as their own responsibility to clear the name of all mankind by writing their own song as a response.

If such a thing happens, these songs become known as response songs, diss tracks or answer songs. What is more astonishing is the fact that there have been a number of amazingly hit response songs, which also give us a look into the varying variety of interpersonal relationships that musicians all over the world might share.

Here are a two famous response songs you might have never realized were written as answers to someone else’s songs.

Response Songs

Katy Perry’s California Gurls was written as response to all the attention that was being paid to her “rivals” or fellow singers in the East. This busty Barbie Doll actually wrote a diss song because she had a beef against Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ massively praised song Empire State of Mind” Although Katy Perry never mentions what she has against the East Coast, she actually mentions palm trees and how you get sands in your shoes, and even calls upon Snoop Dog to invoke some of his West Coast classic vibe into the songs as well.

Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly is actually response songs to Empty Chairs by Don McLean. Killing Me Softly was first composed and recorded by Lori Leiberman in the wake of seeing Don McLean perform at a club in Los Angeles called The Troubadour. It resonated with her own failing relationship and Leiberman actually scribbled the song on a bar napkin long after everyone else had left the bar.

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