Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Playlist: Sequels Part One, Sequel Songs

Although this blog will focus on musical sequels, I’d like to start by mentioning what for me is the greatest cinema sequel film of all time. That would have to be The Empire Strikes Back, would it not? Star Wars A New Hope was a very solid opening, but Lucas and co really pushed the excitement and story and character development up several notches with the next one. Good sequels should always do that, but of course not all do. Many are made just to cash in on the successful original, whether they’re films, books, tv shows or songs. Either way, it’s always interesting how they expand on the original and keep the vibe going. Many of us get lost in the worlds they create and can’t get enough of them.

So, to the theme of this particular blog: what is a sequel song? I hear you ask. Well, it’s a song that comments on or is a sequel of sorts to other, usually more well-known songs. Usually it contains a lyric that calls back to the original, and sometimes the music copies or contains elements of it as well. Often the sequel is by a different artist. There was quite a fad for them back in the sixties, and much of my list is based around them. Also, you can find a lot of lists of these kinds of songs on the internet. I’ve found them pretty useful in my own research on the subject. I first came up with this idea back in the days of cd roms (remember them?)and so I made an mp3 compilation where I’d put the two songs together in one mp3 track using an audio editor. Listening to them, I really liked how putting the songs together made them feel like mini concept albums, or a multi-part melodrama. Of course, with streaming services and instant playlists you don’t have to go to such lengths anymore. I’ll bet you won’t know a lot of these. I’ve also included some that aren’t known to be sequel songs, but that I feel are sequel songs. Let’s dig in.

Why Don’t The Boy Leave Me Alone/My Boyfriend’s Back/The Guy With The Black Eye – The Angels

This is an interesting one, as it includes not one but two sequels, and one’s actually a prequel. They’re all on the My Boyfriend’s Back album by The Angels (obviously not the Australian rock band!). There’s at least one other song on the album – Has Anyone Seen My Boyfriend – that could also be part of the story. The Angel’s songwriting and production team were clearly keen on milking the hit for all it was worth. Though interestingly, The Guy With The Black Eye is the only other one that copies it musically.

I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles/Only Seventeen – The Beattle-ettes

Only Seventeen is found on a number of girl group comps, including Girls In The Garage Vol One and Girls With Guitars. The song was written and produced by Shadow Morton, who worked with the Shangri Las. It’s been suggested that The Beattle-ettes (the spelling comes from early mispelled US label Beatles singles) were in fact the Shangs. Who knows? The song manages to reference not only I Saw Her Standing There, but also I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You. And keeping this theme going, there’s…

I Wanna Hold Your Hand – The Beatles/I’ll Let You Hold My Hand – The Bootles

Under The Boardwalk/Sand In My Shoes – The Drifters

Some lists on the net have suggested the Drifter’s own Up On The Roof as a sequel (or prequel) to Under The Boardwalk. The lesser known Sand In My Shoes is a much more obvious sequel to it, both lyrically and musically, I think.

I Can’t Help Myself/It’s The Same Old Song – Four Tops

These two are probably the most well-known and most self-referential sequel songs in the history of rock and soul.

Blues For Baby And Me/High Flying Bird – Elton John

As far as I know no one’s ever suggested that these two songs, both from Elton’s awesome Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album, are a match. But in my mind they always go together. In ‘Blues’ the protagonist turns dark and possessive when he gets his girl away to the coast, like he’s trapped her there; and in High Flying Bird she finally escapes from him. Both songs are beautifully ambiguous, with ‘Bird’ being especially poetic in its (Bernie Taupin-penned) lyrics. In fact, thinking about these two songs is what got me started on this project!

Okie From Muskogee – Merle Haggard/Texan Love Song – Elton John

Another one with an Elton John connection. There have apparently been a number of answer songs to Merle’s ode to the redneck point of view, including Hippy From Olema by The Youngloods. Again, I don’t know if Elton’s (and Bernie’s) song has ever been linked to it, but I’m making it here right now. Some have said that Merle was being intentionally ironic with his song, but I think the jury’s still out on that one. There can be no doubt, however, that the irony in Bernie’s lyrics on Texan Love Song is intentional.

Who’ll Stop The Rain – CCR/Déjà Vu All Over Again – John Fogerty

John Fogerty has returned to his classic Creedence song a number of times, including Centrefield’s I Saw It On TV, but Déjà Vu seems the most direct reference yet.

Alright, that’s enough of me yapping. Here is a LIST, y’all…

Original Song

Sequel Song

Let’s Have a Party – Wanda Jackson

Man We Had a Party – Wanda Jackson

Runaway – Del Shannon

Hats Off To Larry – Del Shannon

It’s My Party – Lesley Gore

It’s Judy’s Turn To Cry – Lesley Gore

Snoopy Vs the Red Baron – The Royal Guardsmen

Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen

Rat’s Revenge Pt 1 – The Rats

Rat’s Revenge Pt 2 – The Rats

Gloria – Them

Melvin – The Belles

School Is a Gas – Wheel Men

School Is a Drag – Superstocks

Little Old Lady From Pasadena – The Beach Boys

Masked Grandma – California Suns

He’s So Fine – The Chiffons

The Doo Lang – Andrea Carroll

Please Mr Postman – The Marvelettes

Pretty Little Words – Tawney Williams

The Doo Ron Ron – The Crystals

Don’t Cha Know – The Lockets

The In Crowd – Dobie Gray

I’m In With the Out Crowd – Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

I’ll Never Be Your Maggie May – Suzanne Vega

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is – Chicago

25 Or 5 To 4 – Chicago

Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken – Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Hey Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken –

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Never Gonna Be Your Baby – Ronnie Spector

By The Time I Get To Phoenix – Glen Campbell

By The Time You Get To Phoenix

I Want You, I Need You, I Love You – Elvis Presley

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad – Meatloaf

Save The Last Dance For Me – The Drifters

I’ll Save the Last Dance For You – Damita Jo

I’m Only Sleeping – The Beatles

Watching the Wheels – John Lennon

King Of the Road – Dave Miller

Queen Of the House

Like the Weather – 10,000 Maniacs

Get Up – REM

Lola – The Kinks

Destroyer – The Kinks

Norwegian Wood – The Beatles

Fourth Time Around – Bob Dylan

Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

The River – Bruce Springsteen

Runaround Sue – Dion

The Wanderer – Dion

Southern Man – Neil Young

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Space Oddity – David Bowie

Ashes To Ashes – David Bowie

Taxi – Harry Chapin

Sequel – Harry Chapin

The Ceremony – Tammy Wynette and George Jones

DIVORCE – Tammy Wynette

The Last Resort – The Eagles

A Month of Sundays – Don Henley

The Twist – Chubby Checker

Let’s Twist Again – Chubby Checker

Your Wildest Dreams – The Moody Blues

I Know You’re Out There Somewhere


Photo from Lucasfilm via Pinterest

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