Ten songs for Mother's Day. And for my mum (though she'll probably only like the first one). Also dedicated to a good friend of mine who lost his mother very recently. Thinking of you, mate.
Look after your mum - not just on Mother's Day.
10. J.J. Barrie - No Charge
Originally recorded by Melba Montgomery, but it was the J.J. Barrie version that made Number One in the UK singles chart in 1976. A little boy takes him mum a bill for all the chores he's done that week... his mum's response will touch your heart. If you can look past the schmaltz...
For the nine months I've carried you growin' inside me, no chargeSeriously, if you can listen to the last verse without getting a tear in your eye... you're one heartless son of a gun.
For the nights I've sat up with you, doctored you, prayed for you, no charge
For the ties, folding clothes and for wipin' your nose, there's no charge
When you add it all up, the full cost of my love is, no charge
9. Snoop Dogg - I Love My Momma
From the sublime to the snoopdiculous.
She taught me everythang, but she didn't charge a feeAnd if you think that's crazy, check out Mr. T's Treat Your Momma Right, sucker. Are you ready for some PAIN?
She taught me everythang, except how to see a G
For the nine months you carried, I hope you bury me
Instead of the other way around, and I put that on Dogg Pound
I made you cry, you made me smile
I just wanna say I love you for life
And that's the reason why I'm here now
8. John Lennon - Mother / The Beatles - Julia
John Lennon never knew his parents very well. His dad left when he was a little kid, his mum (who he didn't live with; although she did buy him his first guitar), died when he was a teenager. Both these songs are dedicated to her (although Mother is also about his estranged father and Julia is also about Yoko... he never did things by halves).
7. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - Momma
Bob regrets coming home late...
I used to stay out evenings,6. The Divine Comedy - Mother Dear
Stay out too late some evenings,
And momma would be there seething,
Momma, she sat and waited,
Sat in the hall and waited,
Now I know why she hated
And when I'd come in she'd grab me,
Right by the arm she'd grab me,
Lord, when she was finished with me,
I'd cry ... Oh, I'd cry.
But momma she never told me a lie.
It was not that long ago it first occurred to meNeil Hannon isn't the Messiah... he's just a very naughty boy. Luckily, his mum can see right through him...
That my mother was a person in her own right
If I ever get arrested by the C.I.A.5. Manic Street Preachers - Ocean Spray
Because they take me for a foreign spy
They won't need no lie-detector, all they'll have to do
Is make me look into my mother's eyes...
James Dean Hatfield's heartbreaking tribute to his late mother, remembering the nights they spent in her hospital drinking cranberry juice together.
4. Eminem & Nate Ruess - Headlights
Considering all the nasty things Marshall has said about his mum in the process of cleaning out his lyrical closet, this song from his last album came as a real surprise. An imminent plane crash makes him reconsider his opinion...
So, Mom, please accept this as a tribute I wrote this on the jetThen again, Marshall's always been an unreliable narrator. After all, he casts the Fun guy as his long lost adopted brother in the same song. So I guess we'll never know if he really loves and forgives his mum...
I guess I had to get this off my chest,
I hope I get the chance to lay it before I'm dead
The stewardess said to fasten my seatbelt, I guess we're crashing
So if I'm not dreaming, I hope you get this message that I'll always love you from afar
'Cause you're my Ma
3. Bruce Springsteen - The Wish
Bruce is known more for his songs about fathers and sons, so (as he admits in the lyrics), this 1987 tribute to his mum was long overdue. That said, while his relationship with his own father was famously fractious, it was Bruce's ma who set him on the road to success, even buying him his first guitar for his 16th birthday.
Well it was me in my Beatle boots, you in pink curlers and matador pants2. Paul Simon - Loves Me Like A Rock
Pullin' me up of the couch to do the twist for my uncles and aunts
Well I found a girl of my own now, ma, I popped the question on your birthday
She stood waiting on the front porch while you were telling me to get out there
And say what it was that I had to say
Paul Simon's written a number of great songs about mothers, but this is probably the best. Whenever temptation comes his way, he remembers his mother's love and does the right think.
1. Sun Kil Moon - I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love
I only recently discovered Mark Kozelek's Sun Kil Moon (thanks to Miller) but I've been blown away by his album Benji which was released last year. Kozelek's been around a while (he was originally in the Red House Painters back in the 90s) and you can tell it by the beauty, depth and intelligence of his starkly autobiographical songwriting. Here he reveals that his 75 year old mother is also his best friend... and wonders what he'll do when she's no longer around. Hankies at the ready...
When she's gone, I'll miss our slow easy walks
Playing Scrabble with the chimes of the grandfather clock
I'll even miss the times that we fought
But mostly I'll miss being able to call her and talk
Which one would you pick for your mum?