(Flashback to Mom showing me how the record player worked.)
It’s Mother’s Day in the United States, Canada, most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India – in other words, most of the places where this blog gets read. I thought it might be fun to craft a playlist for Moms, Moms-to-be, people who are like Moms, or for those whose Moms passed on some time ago. Here we go!
Let’s start with the easy ones:
“Mother” – Pink Floyd (1979, did not chart). OK, maybe this isn’t the best start in terms of feel-good music. But, hey: he was worried about whether or not his balls were going to be broken, and he asked for help from someone he trusted. Likewise, “Mother” – John Lennon (1971, #43) isn’t a feel-good ode, especially for those who have lost theirs. (And no, Barbra Streisand singing it- which charted at #79 in 1971 – doesn’t make it any easier.) Similarly, “Mother” – The Police (1983, did not chart) seems perhaps to be more like Norman Bates’ mom.
“Mama” – B.J. Thomas (1966, made #22). Now this is more like it.
“Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?” and “Mother’s Little Helper” – The Rolling Stones (1966, #9 and #8 respectively). The Stones didn’t forget their mothers, even when they had possible addiction issues.
“Mama” – Genesis (1983, #73). For as often as I remembered MTV playing this, I thought it was a bigger hit.
“Mama Can’t Buy You Love” – Elton John (1979, #9). Guilty pleasure alert: I like this record and will not change the station if you play it. There, it’s out there.
“Mama Didn’t Lie” – Jan Bradley (1963, #14). That’s right, kids – sometimes Mom’s advice is solid. This is a great Chess records release that you don’t hear enough. While we’re on the subject of advice, sometimes Mom needs it, too: “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” – Waylon (Jennings) and Willie (Nelson) (1978, #42) fills the bill nicely. And, to be perfectly honest, I am not entirely sure how to classify “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)” – Three Dog Night (1970, #1) in this regard.
“Mama Let Him Play” – Jerry Doucette (1978, #72). More advice, even if it’s of the counterproductive variety. This was a tune we got a ton of requests for at 97X, because in a pre-Internet world this was tough to come by.
“Mama Said” – The Shirelles (1961, #4). Of all the things that Mom said, this is the one you should have listened to the most.
“Mother and Child Reunion” – Paul Simon (1972, #4). Is this a tune about death? Is this a tune named after Paul Simon went to a Chinese restaurant and saw this as the name of a chicken and egg dish? It depends what you read. Either way, it’s a great song.
“Mother-In-Law” – Ernie K-Doe (1961, #1). Ernie Kador really didn’t dislike his mother-in-law, but sometimes you gotta run with a gag. Truth: his mother-in-law is in the same tomb with him in New Orleans. In this case he ran all the way to the top of the charts and inspired an answer record we didn’t really need (The Blossoms, “Son-In-Law“, which made #79 in 1961).
Songs that aren’t so obvious:
“Squeeze Box” – The Who (1976, #16). Mom’s the one with the accordion, keeping Dad from sleeping. It’s all coming back to you now.
“Shop Around” – The Miracles (1961, #2). Who gave the advice to find a new girlfriend? That’s right. (We do not acknowledge the Captain and Tennille cover of this, despite the fact that it made it to #4 in 1976.)
“Your Mother Should Know” – The Beatles (1967, did not chart). The Magical Mystery Tour LP was one that I kept in heavy rotation in my youth, and in my younger days I skipped over this one. I wouldn’t do that today.
“Sylvia’s Mother” – Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show (1972, #5). Mrs. Avery was far, far more patient with this phone call than I would have been.
“Mother’s Eyes” – Enuff Z’Nuff (1991, did not chart). We also played this a whole, whole lot at 97X when hair bands got all the attention. I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve heard this in 28 years.
“Mother Popcorn (You Got To Have a Mother For Me)” – James Brown (1969, #11). This is as good a place to stop as any.
What additions would you make to this list?