A wide array of memorable tunes, from the silly to the serene, leave wiggle room for country song sequels. In most of these examples, changing times allow for different social and musical perspectives on lyrical content. Other ideas serve as excuses to talk about wrestling and cats on the internet. In either case, a follow-up song makes sense as more than just an easy cash grab. As a point of reference and a handy means to steam safe for work country classics all afternoon, a Spotify link to the original song is included.
“Goodbye Earl” — The Dixie Chicks
If a surprise new Dixie Chicks song breaks the internet in the coming months, it should be a sequel to the group’s most memorable and poignant song. What if we get Earl’s perspective on Judgement Day (despite him being an apparent zombie)? He can look down at his own funeral, as his spouse, mother and other loved ones lament a broken man’s life choices more so than his passing. It wouldn’t so much build sympathy for the bad guy as it would remind us all to be sure our actions aren’t nearly that destructive or heartless on this side of eternity.
“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?” — Waylon Jennings
Jennings laments a level of commercialization in country music, circa 1975, that would’ve befuddled the great Hank Williams. Replace “rhinestone suits” and “new shiny cars” with “hip-hop beats” and “pop music collaborations,” or something similar, and you’ve got a take on modernized country that might disappoint both Williams and Jennings. Such a song would fit the sound and overall message of Wheeler Walker Jr., although he might not be initially thrilled with altering Waylon’s immortal words.
“Girl in a Country Song” — Maddie & Tae
Maddie and Tae’s best-known song challenges male country singers to stray from objectifying nameless, curvy women in mainstream hits. It’s a timely argument, complemented by a hilarious music video. What if the pair focused beyond the charts and celebrated some of the talented women who are having a creatively enriching year? Think of it as “Girl with a Country Song.” They could even namedrop Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell while they’re at it. After all, both stars’ albums are great in part because of their spouses’ contributions.
“Fancy” — Reba McEntire
Yes, this is a Bobbie Gentry original, but Reba is way more likely to sing it if the song ever gets written. Did Fancy’s mother pass away with piece of mind, knowing her daughter followed her advice to a T? Better yet, has Fancy become a mother herself, and is she hopeful that her daughter remains part of high society?
“The Ballad of the Blue Cyclone, Part 3” — Ray Stevens
A funnier look at changing times could come in the next chapter of Stevens’ pro wrestling saga. In the original two songs, Stevens has a violent run-in with a big brute from a local wrestling promotion. Now, the smaller Stevens could be the wrestling star if he learned a few flippy moves and memorable slogans. That’d easily overshadow the muscled-up Cyclone’s lack of work rate.
“You Know Me Better Than That” — George Strait
One of Strait’s most Texas-sounding chart-toppers leaves the barroom doors open for a sequel. First of all, the lead character should end up with the more down to earth ex-girlfriend. On a lighter yet equally important note, does he still get to see the cat he so loves? Better yet, will he devote that affection to the kitty he adopts with his ex-flame turned new spouse, knowing the other cat is in a good home?