From 2Pac appreciating his mother to Danzig belting “Mother” at a full-throated, hard-rock howl, there are plenty of ways to toast the women who gave us life on Mother’s Day, this Sunday (May 10).
Raise a glass this Mother’s Day, and let these songs be your soundtrack.
2Pac’s “Dear Mama”
In the late, great 2Pac’s tribute to his mama, Afeni Shakur — who gave birth to him a month after being released from jail — the late rap icon says the words that every mother wants to hear: “You are appreciated.”
On his 2007 debut album, “Lovehate,” The-Dream mourns the passing of his mother in “Mama,” a heart-filled, melodic and auto-tuned dedication to her. Reminiscing on loving memories, the “Radio Killa” dreams of bringing his mother back to life.
The Backstreet Boys’ “The Perfect Fan”
In this soft rock piano medley, the Backstreet Boys declare their love and appreciation for their mothers. With lyrics like “You showed me when I was young just how to grow,” Hallmark could learn a thing or two from these gentlemen. When the song debuted in 1999, fans and mothers everywhere swooned.
Drake’s “Look What You’ve Done”
In candid disclosure of the hardships he went through with his mother and family, Drake gratefully thanks them for helping him become the man he is today on 2011’s “Look What You’ve Done.” Ending with a recording of a loving voicemail from his grandmother, this “Take Care” track sentimentally greets “Happy Mother’s Day.”
‘N Sync’s “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You”
‘N Sync’s pop ballad “God Must Have Spent (A Little More Time On You)” could be written about any woman in the boys’ lives, but they dedicated it to their moms. The video features a mother and child, from birth to adulthood, growing and making memories while the boys croon in white suits.
Kacey Musgrave’s “Mother”
Musgraves’ tear-jerking tribute to mom is not to be missed: “Wish we didn’t live, wish we didn’t live so far from each other/ I’m just sitting here thinking ’bout the time that’s slipping/ And missing my mother, mother/ And she’s probably sitting there/ Thinking ’bout the time that’s slipping/ And missing her mother, mother.”
Christina Aguilera’s “Oh Mother”
Christina Aguilera is celebrating Mother’s Day as a mom herself to Max Liron Bratman and Summer Rain Rutler, but this 2006 single addresses her own early childhood, as she thanks her mother for leaving her abusive father.
Danzig’s 1991 breakthrough hit isn’t really about mothers, but like them, it rocks.
Kanye West’s “Hey Mama”
Kanye West owes a lot to his mother Donda West, who retired from her job as an English professor to manage her son’s career. This performance, filmed before Donda passed away unexpectedly in 2007, is a testament to their close bond.
Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mama I’m Coming Home”
This 1991 track was actually written for Ozzy’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne, whom the hard-rocker refers to as “Mama.”
The Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper”
This Rolling Stones classic seems harmless, but a deeper listen actually reveals that the title is a reference to prescription drugs used by lonely housewives.
Crystal Bowersox’s “Mama”
Dubbed “Mama Sox” by her fellow season 9 American Idol contestants, Bowersox recorded “Mama,” an acoustic ballad saying farewell rather than giving thanks. As a young mother herself, Crystal sings passionately and from the heart.
Pink Floyd’s “Mother”
On this song from their classic 1979 album The Wall, Pink Floyd ask, “Mother, do you think they’ll like this song?” They certainly did.
LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out”
While we’re pretty sure Mama wouldn’t approve of violence or forgetting to take out the garbage, she’s bound to appreciate an LL classic that samples James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone.
Trace Adkins’ “Hot Mama”
Trace Adkins tips his cowboy hat to all the “Hot Mamas” of the world: “You worry about your hips, and you worry about your age/Meanwhile I’m tryin’ to catch the breath you take away.” Aw.
The Jackson 5’s “Mama’s Pearl”
Recorded by the Jackson 5 in 1971, “Mama’s Pearl” was reportedly called “Guess Who’s Making Woopie (With Your Girlfriend)” until the lyrics and title were changed to fit 12-year-old Michael.
John Lennon’s “Mother”
John Lennon’s song “Mother” is actually a song written for both his parents — his father left when Lennon was only an infant, and his mother was killed in a car crash when he was 17.
Boyz II Men’s “A Song for Mama”
A staple of any Mother’s Day playlist, this Boyz II Men ballad is about a family held together by a mother’s traditions.
Elvis Presley’s “Mama Liked The Roses”
Released in 1970 as a b-side to his classic single “The Wonder of You,” Presley’s song is in memory of mothers who can’t be with their children on the holiday.
The Spice Girls’ “Mama”
The idea for this Spice Girls ballad arose in 1997, when Melanie “Scary Spice” Brown thought it would be a good idea to write a tribute for the mamas of the group.