In this paper we have reviewed the theoretical framework of the coupled-cluster (cc) based linear response model as a tool for directly calculating energy differences of spectroscopic interest like excitation energy (ee), ionisation potential (ip) or electron affinity (ea). In this model, the ground state of a many-electron system is described as in a coupled cluster theory for closed shells. The electronic ground state is supposed to interact with an external photon field of frequencyw, and the poles of the linear response function as a function ofw furnish with the elementary excitations of the system. Depending on the general form of the coupling term chosen, appropriate difference energies like ee, ip or EA may be generated. Pertinent derivations of the general working equations are reviewed, and specific details as well as approximations for ee, ip or ea are indicated. It is shown that the theory bears a close resemblance to the equation of motion (eom) method but is superior to the latter in that the ground state correlation is taken to all orders and may be looked upon as essentially a variant of renormalisedtda. A perturbative analysis elucidating the underlying perturbative structure of the formulation is also given which reveals that the theory has a hybrid structure: the correlation terms are treated akin to an open shellmbpt, while the relaxation terms are treated akin to a Green function theory. A critique of the methodvis-a-vis other cc-based approaches for difference energies forms the concluding part of our review.