We begin our Mother’s Week, theme week here at BreakThru Radio on a light-hearted note with a poll of the songs that remind us of dear old mum. The music you share with your mom might be a compromise of tastes or a little reminder of what you both have in common besides a deep, inherent, love for each other. These songs can vary as with the many kinds of relationships one can have with a maternal figure.
In the grand tradition of Mother’s Day, this list is not a celebration of only biological mothers but matriarchs of all kinds, be they grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, adopted mothers, etc. Moreover, we are letting the most powerful, loving and gracious women in the world know how much they mean to us. Titles aren’t important here and neither are the lyrical hinges of songs listed below, some of which were likely never meant to be shared between parent and offspring. Nevertheless, they convey such an endless depiction of love that alone makes it appropriate.
My choice isn’t a terribly original one, but as with the integrity of any poll, honesty will always ring true and I can’t help but mention any other song for this occasion. The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” speaks volumes about how I’ve felt about the strongest female figures in my life. They are women who have seen me through the worst and most trying times (and vice versa) be they friends, lovers, or relatives. No more is this especially true than for Momma DeMello.
I can’t listen to this song without thinking of January 2007 and with a great big lump in my throat. It was the month my mom was diagnosed with stage-two ovarian cancer. Her own mother had just passed a few months prior and her twin sister’s husband was weeks away from bravely losing his own long fought cancer battle. Without being able to feel the certainty of my mother’s likely survival (she’s been living happy and healthy ever since), Brian Wilson’s teen anthem struck so deep a chord with us:
“If you should ever leave me/Life would still go on, believe me/The world could show nothing to me/So what good would living do me?”
Tony Asher’s lyrics are about what nearly all the best ‘60s pop songs are about: young love. Specifically, “God Only Knows” taken at face value reads like a confession of romance while the narrator still tries to keep his guard up. If she wants to go, she can go, but it will kill him. When reinforced by the full faith and power of the legendary Wrecking Crew session musicians, these words carry the metaphorical weight of a far more consequential emotion. Between a mother and son, these words say “I will survive without you because life may demand it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t feel like dying too.”
I could go on, but one of the truly monumental achievements of a song so widely applauded as “God Only Knows” is that the music still speaks for itself. If it’s been a while since the last time you heard Pet Sounds, it might be time to take it off the bench. That whole record sounds like the merry merry month of May no matter what kind of misery you’re going through.
Without further ado, here are some choice songs, memories and videos from our staff:
Paula (Video Team) – “Mr. Tambourine Man” by Bob Dylan
When I was in high school, I remember overhearing “Mr. Tambourine Man” at a restaurant with my mom. My mom had always been into pop and disco, so I was a bit surprised when she got wistful and told me she loved the song, because my dad had played it for her when they first met. So, it’s basically because of my mom that I bought my first Bob Dylan album.
DJ Boon (‘All Access’) – “Dear Mama” by 2Pac Shakur
To say that my family is unconventional would be a huge understatement. The amount of tragedies, obstacles, and just plain B.S. we’ve had to deal with is absurd. Regardless of what happens, my mother is indomitable and comes out on top.
Britt Sondreal (‘Sew & Tell’) – “Could I Lean On You Leona?” by Sawyer Brown
There was a terrible country song from Sawyer Brown that came out in the early ’80’s called “Could I Lean On You Leona?” My mother’s name is Leona, so as a joke my dad got a country hat on, put it on the record player, and sang along. It became an instant family classic.
[youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-szMex5raS4 [/youtube]
Jess Westberg (Video Team) – “Raspberry Beret” by Prince
I’m from Minnesota, so Prince comes to mind…. she likes him too (who doesn’t?). “Raspberry Beret” is one song in particular we both enjoy.
Audrey II (‘The Night Show’) – “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
I grew up listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – their music were the first songs that my brothers and I knew by heart. My mom would sing along softly during long car trips and we would listen to the old records (and then CDs) during holiday parties at our house. Thanks for everything, Mom (including my great taste in music!)
DJs John and Molly (‘Radio Dispatch’) – “Ticket to Ride” by The Beatles
Our mom used to play early Beatles songs for us when we were growing up, and “Ticket to Ride” is one that really stuck with me. We listened to it on an old record player, which only added to the fun.
Mary Kate Polanin (Editorial) – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” cover by James Taylor
I absolutely love this song, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out my mother shared the same love for James Taylor’s stripped down cover of the Christmas classic. It was Christmas Eve, and the song came on the radio while my family was sitting in the living room. My mom turned to me and said, “Oh, now this is my favorite Christmas song.” I think I speak for many when I say that seeing eye to eye with your mother on anything, let alone music, is something to be cherished.
Courtney Garcia (Editorial Staff) – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
My mom loved Whitney, thus I love Whitney, and this was our jam on the way to school every morning. Whitney was one of the few artists we both blasted on the radio.
DJ Linus (‘The Jazz Hole’) – “Ave Maria” comp. Johann S. Bach and Charles Gounod performed by Luciano Pavarotti
I remember that my mom was once invited to see a glamorous Luciano Pavarotti concert that was being broadcasted on TV. They filmed her a couple of times as she was looking wonderful that night. This tune makes me think of her. Editor’s note: video above is a performance of the Schubert version of “Ave Maria”.
DJ Emily (Tuesday’s on BTR, “Ladies Skate Only”, “Revolver”, “Alt-Country Hour”) – “Treat Your Mother Right” by Mr. T
An abundance of songs come to mind when I think of my mom. We’ve rocked out to everything from The Beatles, to Taylor Dayne, to Phantom of the Opera. My mom and I don’t exactly have the same taste in tunes and one of my favorite memories was when I was listening to Iron and Wine and my mom actually commented that she really liked the music I was listening to. My thought “wow, mom’s cool!”
However, I gave my mother hell in my youth (as most teenage girls did) and one song that really stands out for me is Mr. T’s “Treat Your Mother Right”.
Featuring the lyrics “Mother, there is no other. Like mother. So treat her right! Treat her right!”
Truer words have never been spoken. I pity the fool that doesn’t know this song.
We’d love to hear from you, readers. Feel free to comment on the message board below with the songs that remind you of mom.
(Mr.T photo w/caption taken from: http://www.encyclopedia.com/video/z51Cu02Cw9E-mr-t-treat-your-mother.aspx)