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The Ultimate Mother’s Day Playlist

Your mom deserves the best, and we’ve got it – from Jay-Z to Joni Mitchell

Mother's Day playlist


The annals of music folklore are full of unforgettable moms. There’s tough mothers, saintly mothers, evil mothers, motorcycle mamas, mothers of invention. Some stars love to do emotional tributes to their mamas, from Tupac to Taylor, from Dolly to Drake. Others celebrate the fearsome bad-ass maternal figures — whether it’s LL Cool J’s mama telling him to knock you out, or Rosalita’s mama chasing Bruce Springsteen off the porch with a broom. So here’s a few of our favorite mom songs, from pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and country.

Ernie K-Doe, ‘Mother-in-Law’

And then there’s this less sentimental blast of New Orleans funk, where Ernie K-Doe compares his wife’s meddling mother to Satan. Allen Toussaint provides the ice-coldest nine-note piano solo in history.

The Intruders, ‘I’ll Always Love My Mama’

Another Philly soul classic from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the Intruders’ most famous hit is a family affair, proclaiming, “She’s my favorite girl!” From their album Save the Children, which also had their heart-tugging version of Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion.”

BTS, ‘Mama’

J-Hope sings of his gratitude to “Mama,” in a gospel-style standout from the BTS album Wings. It starts out in 2006, when he’s a child learning to dance with her help; it follows her support and encouragement over the years, as she teaches Hobi that failure is the mother of success.

The Five Stairsteps, ‘O-o-h Child’

Few vintage soul sounds can soothe a troubled mind like Aloha Burke’s voice as she sings the opening lines of this dusty Chicago groove: “Ooooh child, things are gonna get easier / Ooooh child, things’ll get brighter.”

Al Wilson, ‘Queen of the Ghetto’

The late, great R&B singer is best remembered today for his Number One hit, “Show and Tell,” one of the Seventies’ suavest love jams. But Wilson got grittier in his ode to a matriarch who did what she had to do to put food on the table – and he’s nothing but proud.

Johnny Paycheck, ‘I’m The Only Hell (My Mama Ever Raised)’

A classic of outlaw country, the twanged-up honky-tonk tale of a bad, bad man who’s done some evil deeds—but he’s always got a soft spot for Mama. (And ONLY for Mama.) Johnny Paycheck, the ornery hombre who sang “Take This Job and Shove It,” makes the whole bar sing along: “She tried to turn me on to Jesus/But I turned to the devil’s ways/And I turned out to be the only hell my mama ever raised!”