Responding to recordings, responding to research

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Have you heard of a response recording, a.k.a. an answer song?  As the name implies, it is a song released in response to an earlier recording.  Sometimes it will parody the original piece.  Sometimes it will continue the story related in the original.  Sometimes it will challenge the viewpoint of the original, or at least offer an alternative viewpoint (Cooper & Haney, 1990, pp. xiii-xxi).  Why am I even bringing up this topic?

Scholarship itself involves responding to previous scholarship.  The ACRL Information Literacy Framework describes scholarship as a conversation (2014, p.11).  Think of the works you have cited in your research.  At times haven’t you challenged or  expanded upon these works?

Answer songs provide a fresh way to consider the concept.  Cooper and Haney (1990) provide an extensive list of pre-1990 recordings.  Smith (1986) tells the story behind “Papa Wants the Best for You,” which gives the father’s response to “Papa Don’t Preach.”  More recent examples exist, though these earlier ones are well-documented and model the conversation.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 3.  Retrieved from

Cooper, B.L., & Haney, W.S. (1990). Response recordings: An answer song discography 1950-1990.  Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Smith, L. (1986, October 22). Papa gets second chance in new video. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 5E. Retrieved from,2137407

P.S. On a lighter note you can watch the video for “Queen of the House,” which parodies “King of the Road.”