There are many mother songs written by classic rockers, and — how do we put this gently? — some, but definitely not all of them, present the most healthy, balanced perspective on parent-children relationships. You’ll find the proper amount of love, respect and admiration for dear old mom expressed on many of the tracks below, but you’ll also find betrayal, sexual confusion and even drug abuse as well. We could have further tipped the scales towards the dark side by including Jim Morrison’s oedipal musings from “The End” by the Doors, but we decided to try and keep things at least a bit more respectful for all the hard-working and loving mothers out there.
‘Tie Your Mother Down’
As we warned you, don’t expect a complete collection of sweet-intentioned mother songs on this list. In fact, this Brian May-written rocker by Queen finds Freddie Mercury insisting the object of his desire not only ignore her mom’s “be a good girl” advice, but literally restrain the mother from doing anything about it: “It’s gotta be tonight my little schoolbabe, your momma says you don’t / And your daddy says you won’t / And I’m boilin’ up inside / Ain’t no way I’m gonna lose out this time / Tie your mother down.”
‘Mother’s Little Helper’
What a drag it is getting old, especially for the mother featured in this Rolling Stones classic, trapped in an unfulfilling suburban world of hyperactive kids, frozen steaks and instant cakes. Luckily (at first), she’s got the finest barbiturates the mid-’60s can offer: “And though she’s not really ill / There’s a little yellow pill / She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper / And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.” Of course, what seems like a short-cut often ends up taking a much higher toll further down the road…
‘Mother and Child Reunion’
Although Paul Simon has said his first post-Simon & Garfunkel solo single was inspired by the death of a beloved pet dog, and the title came from the name of a Chinese restaurant’s chicken-and-egg dish, the lyrics can easily be interpreted to reflect the loss of a loved one such as a mother. Simon offers comfort to the bereaved, and faith that someday they’ll meet again: “No I would not give you false hope / On this strange and mournful day / But the mother and child reunion / Is only a motion away.”
Sometimes a mother’s love can be a bit overwhelming and suffocating. Particularly when the time comes for a young man to begin his romantic life, and especially if the mom’s main goal is to not let “anyone dirty get through.” Although Roger Waters of Pink Floyd is quick to explain that his own mother is nothing like the monstrous shrew portrayed in the film version of The Wall, he did tell Mojo that this song is about, “The idea that we can be controlled by our parents’ views on things like sex. The single mother of boys, particularly, can make sex harder than it needs to be.”
‘Mama I’m Coming Home’
OK, yes, we all know this mother song was actually written by Ozzy Osbourne about his wife Sharon. But the type of love he’s singing about in this song — specifically, her support and insistence that he clean up his harmful drug and booze habits — definitely veers on maternal territory. Besides, lyrics such as “I’ve seen your face a hundred times / Every day we’ve been apart / I don’t care about the sunshine / Cause mama, I’m coming home” definitely capture the feelings garnered when one travels far to visit their dear mother.