Mix it up: The callback mix

Mix it up

My “Mix it up” posts are evidently going to be a series because I can’t stop thinking of ideas for CD mixes. Which is strange because I haven’t actually sent a CD mix to anyone lately. I’m full of ideas though! My last two mixes can be found on my old PastaQueen site. They were The Aging Mix and the Same Title, Different Song mix.

This time I want to put together a mix of songs that callback to one another or are linked in some way. Usually it’s because one song references the other song. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Lloyd Cole and The Commotions – Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?
Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken

The link between these two is pretty obvious. The first song is asking if you’re ready to be heartbroken and then Camera Obscura let’s good old Lloyd know that, yes, they’re ready to be heartbroken.

Neil Young – Southern Man
Lynard Skynard – Sweet Home Alabama

The Neil Young song is critical of the south. A verse in the Lynard Syknard song responds to that with “Well I heard mister Young sing about her/Well, I heard ole Neil put her down/Well, I hope Neil Young will remember/A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow”

The Eagles – Take It Easy
Tori Amos – Springtime of His Voodoo

The Eagles song has a lyric “Well, I’m a standing on a corner/in Winslow, Arizona/and such a fine sight to see/It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed/Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.” The Tori Amos song references this with the lyric “Standin’ on a corner in Winslow Arizona/And I’m quite sure I’m in the wrong song.”

Billy Bragg – New England
Kirsty McColl – New England (new verse, female perspective)

At first glance it might seem like the Kirsty McColl version is just a cover of the Billy Bragg version. Don’t be fooled! Kirsty’s version is a response to Billy’s version seen from the female perspective. She even adds a verse or two. It’s interesting to compare the views on being dumped, dumping someone, and the attitudes each has on the situation. Here are the Billy Bragg lyrics and the Kirsty McColl lyrics. And YouTube has this a version of the song with both Billy and Kirsty!

Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes – Be My Baby
Eddie Money – Take My Home Tonight

Yes, my knowledge of 80’s soft rock is showing here. The Eddie Money song has the lyric “Just like Ronnie said/Be my little baby” which refers to Ronnie’s song. He even got Ronnie Spector to guest on his song.

OK! Those are the ones I thought of off the top of my head. I’m sure there are lots more. Tell me about them in the comments. Try to avoid listing songs that simply sample other songs or mashup other songs. I’m not that interested in something like “Every Breath You Take” by The Police and that P. Diddy song that basically just raps over it. Or Will Smith’s “Men In Black” which uses the melody from “Forget Me Nots.” I’d like for there to be a conscious reference to the other song and not just sampling.

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  1. KeithW says

    William, It Was Really Nothing by the Smiths was probably about Billy Mackenzie of the Associates. Much later, Mackenzie released a response song called Stephen, You’re Really Something aimed at (Stephen) Morrissey.

  2. Laura says

    My friend once made me a “Your Mom” CD as a joke…all songs had the word Mom in them. The best part was he didnt tell me what the theme of the CD was we just started noticing..priceless!! :)

  3. Lisa says

    My favorite example are the Major Tom songs–David Bowie’s original version and Peter Schilling’s sequel, which adds the supposition that Major Tom went adrift on purpose…

    I expect it’s cheating if it’s the same band, but Queen mentions Fat Bottomed Girls in their other song Bicycle Race.

  4. Jo says

    This is country, but Brad Paisley’s “Old Alabama” and Alabama’s “Mountain Music”. “Old Alabama” is basically a mish-mash of the names of various Alabama songs with the backdrop of Mountain Music as it’s riff. And as far as it goes – it’s pretty good – especially if you’re an old Alabama fan like me.

  5. Susan says

    Oh! I have a perfect suggestion for this! When I was in high school (child of the ’80s), I remember being very amused at this original and answer song!

    Paul Lekakis – Boom, Boom (Let’s Go Back to My Room)
    Body Heat – No! Mr. Boom Boom

  6. Colleenzo says

    Nirvana’s Come As You Are says, ‘Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don’t be late.’ Blink 182’s Adams Song replies with, ‘I took my time, hurried up, the choice was mine, I didn’t think enough.’ So if you like songs about suicide, that’s a good choice for your mix!

  7. says

    In 1965 there was a very popular protest song, The Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire about everything that was wrong with the country. Conservatives didn’t like it and it was answered by The Dawn of Correction by the Spokesmen.

  8. says

    I can only come up with one example that I know of: Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” song illicited the response from Lil’ Bit unimaginatively titled “So Sick (Response)”. Lame example since I’m not sure Lil’ Bit’s song was released, kind of like those YouTube videos that get response videos… these kids these days.

  9. Becca says

    I always spend days thinking about answers to these posts and then always forget to write them for you, so today I’m going for off the top of my head:

    Ani DiFranco “cloud blood” in the line she says “every other song someone’s trying to write angels into the world”, easily answering Sarah Maclachlan’s “angels” or whatever it was called, as well as a bunch of other songs at the time.

    And does the category count if a song references another singer? such as Emmy the Great’s “Dylan”.

    Also Emmy the Great “Canopies and Drapes” quotes the Friends theme song “I’ll be there for you”. In the line she sings “I sit here drooling on my own again/ another routine episode of Friends/ What does it mean to be American?/ Is it/ feelings, coffee and/ I’ll be there for you?”.

    I shall ponder more, but those are off the cuff for you :)

  10. Kimberly says

    Elliott Smith’s “Waltz #2” mentions the Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown”

    The Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl references “California Dreaming” by The Mamas and the Papas.

    Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home)” continues the story told in Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

    And finally, Don McLean cleverly references a slew of songs in “American Pie.”

  11. vivi says

    1) Crowded House: “Weather with you”. It starts: “walking round the room singing -stormy weather-“.

    and, obviously

    2) Stormy weather (any of the versions)

  12. Velv says

    Aerosmith with “Walk this way”

    Bryan Adams with “Run to you”

    Now just added to my new running playlist. Speaking of which, do you actually use these mixes to run on?

  13. cait says

    There’s also Snow Patrol’s “Hands Open,” which makes reference to Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago”

  14. says

    The Pixies (led by Black Francis aka Frank Black) ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’:
    “If Man is 5
    Then the Devil is 6
    Then God is 7
    This monkey’s gone to heaven”

    The Bloodhound Gang ‘Fire, Water, Burn’:
    “I’m not black like Barry White, no I am white like Frank Black is
    So if man is 5 and then Devil is 6, then that must make me 7
    This honkey’s gone to heaven”

    Tori Amos has another one too – she references Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ in her song ‘Caught a Lite Sneeze’. She says something about making her own pretty hate machine.

  15. Leigh Ann says

    Dire Straits: “Romeo and Juliet”
    and the “Love Theme” from the 1968 Zefferelli movie

    The movie song starts out “A time for us, some day there’ll be.” Mark Knopfler references this in the Dire Straits song: “There’s a place for us, you know the movie song. When you gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?”

  16. Sheila says

    “It’s My Party” led to “Judy’s Turn to Cry”.

    “King of the Road” led to “Queen of the House”.

    “This Diamond Ring” led to a female response, possibly with the same title.

    Yes, I am old. Very very old.

  17. JenFul says

    @Velv – I haven’t been using the mixes for running because my podiatrist has told me it will take about 2 months for my tendonitis to heal. After that I might! I like making the mixes more for the challenge of it, though.

  18. says

    Styx’s “First Time” has the dedication “for Paul” – it was a response to “Silly Love Songs.”

    Too obscure? (I’ll note that I’m a huge Styx fan, and “First Time” is my least favorite song of theirs…)

  19. Ange says

    I think you should make a mix where one song starts a chain that ties into the next song and so on…what a challenge that would be….

  20. JenFul says

    @Ange – I’ve thought of doing that, usually when two songs come up in my playlist that are related. It would definitely be a challenge to come up with a chain long enough for a CD mix.

  21. PoppyK says

    Unfortunately this was probably never recorded, but I was lucky enough to see Alex Chilton play live shortly after the Replacements came out with the song ‘Alex Chilton’ and he must have been flattered because he covered it.

  22. Dixie says

    @Sheila –
    I’m apparently very old too, because i was going to suggest these same songs, but you beat me to it!
    (Child of the 50s-60s)

  23. Maureen says

    @Sheila – I am not old, but my taste in music is. My first thought was the “Judy’s turn to cry.” :-)

  24. Lizbeth says

    Just stumbled on this blog and I find you know who Lloyd Cole, Billy Bragg AND Kirsty MacColl are! I am hooked already because of this:) God rest Kirsty’s soul:(

  25. Lizbeth says

    Also, I meant to add, ever since Kirsty was killed, Billy Bragg sings “A New England” with her verses added

  26. sarah says

    @Lizbeth – billy actually wrote the extra verses specifically for kirsty. another talent taken too soon…

  27. Jo says

    Now here’s an oldie goldie classic.

    Hank Thompson’s “The Wild Side of Life”

    Kitty Wells “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”

    I’m not that old, but a long time country fan. These were 50’s songs.

  28. Kathy W. says

    What was the final playlist on the aging mix? Would be fun if we could see what suggestions made it in…

  29. Leigh Ann says

    Oh, I just thought of an addition to my comment above. Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet” also references another song: “My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels (1963). “Juliet says, ‘Hey, it’s Romeo, you nearly give me a heart attack.’ He’s underneath the window; she says, ‘Hey, la, my boyfriend’s back.'”

  30. Elaine says

    No lyrics in this one, but you can hear strains of Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” in the interminable, repetitive ending of the Beatle’s “All You Need Is Love”.

  31. tony says

    Love these lists!
    Okay, Robert Plant’s “Lighten Up” contains bits and pieces of his old Led Zeppelin songs, does that count? And how about an album title (I know this is way off on a tangent)-Neil Young’s “Harvest” and “Harvest Moon”.
    It would be neat to see the playlist you come up with.


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