You get songs about lovers and cheaters, heroes and losers, and even your brothers and sisters – but what about the mothers of the world?
For Mother's Day this weekend, we delved into the archive of every song that ever charted in the UK to see which mum-related tunes made it into the Official Singles Chart Top 40.
It's true not all songs with "mama" or "mother" in the title might be maternal in nature – and some of them may not be that complimentary either – but we've listed the lot here and in a playlist for you decide. Think of it as a kind of suitability roulette – will the next song be a heartfelt tribute to your dearest mum, or a sexed-up dance track about an attractive young lady? Perhaps your mum would be happy either way!
Let's start with the big ones: four mum-esque songs made it all the way to the top of the Official Singles Chart. First was the grammatically challenging Mama Weer All Crazee Now by glam rockers Slade in 1972, spending three weeks at the top. Next came ABBA's exasperated cry of Mamma Mia!: the Swedish icons spent a fortnight at Number 1 in early 1976.
We had to wait over two decades for Mama to rear her head again, this time as a double-A side for the Spice Girls. This was a full-on mumfest, released just in time for Mother's Day 1997, its video featuring all five girls telling their mothers – who were also in the video, can you believe? – how much they adored them, through the power of song. Released alongside Comic Relief tune Who Do You Think You Are, Mama spent three weeks at the top.
The most recent popstar to bring Mama to work was Pixie Lott. Her debut single Mama Do was not so much a tribute to mothers as more recognition that many mums genuinely have zero clue what their children are up to, and spent a week at Number 1 in 2009.
The earliest example of a mum-themed song in the charts was a big one: festive favourite I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, which occupied three separate spots on the Official Christmas Chart in 1953. The highest peaking version was Jimmy Boyd's, which made it to Number 3. The most recent is Miley Cyrus, whose track Mother's Daughter topped out at Number 29 in July 2019.
Other notable Mama hits include two versions of Mama Told Me Not to Come; first by Three Dog Night in 1970 (3), and then Tom Jones & Stereophonics, reaching Number 4 a full 30 years later. Junior's 1982 hit Mama Used to Say was repurposed by Richard Blackwood on Mama Who Da Man ("we love you RB, check you every day on MTV" is a lyric for the ages) in 2000, with Richard outpeaking Junior by 4 places.
It's not all about mama, of course: some of us are more formal. ABBA's Does Your Mother Know, notable for featuring Bjorn and Benny on lead vocals and not Agnetha and Frida for reasons that will become glaringly obvious when you listen, peaked at 4 in 1979. The Rolling Stones land the longest mother-related title with Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow – a Number 5 hit in 1966 – and Chvrches brought their mother into the charts in 2013 with The Mother We Share.
Rarer variations of pet names for your maternal unit – yes, we are running out of synonyms here – manage to make an appearance. Ma He's Making Eyes at me has two showings, most recently from TV talent show star Lena Zavaroni in 1974. Representing the Americans – or those in and around some parts of the Midlands – is Stacy's Mom, who had it going on all the way to Number 11 for Fountains of Wayne in 2004, their biggest hit in the UK. Mammy appears three times, most notably Mammy Blue, with two versions charting at the same time in 1971. The highest peaking tune to be dedicated to the UK favourite "mum" was the very Mother's Day appropriate My Mum is One in a Million, by the Children of Tansley School, reaching Number 27 in 1981.
Oh, and don't forget your granny on Mother's Day too – why not play her the huge-selling 1980 Christmas Number 1 There's No One Quite Like Grandma, sung by the St Winifred's School Choir. She will no doubt be thrilled. Happy Mother's Day!
Here's the full list of mum, mama, mommy, ma and all the rest-themed UK Top 40s.
|MAMA DO||PIXIE LOTT||1||2009|
|MAMA/WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE||SPICE GIRLS||1||1997|
|MAMA WEER ALL CRAZEE NOW||SLADE||1||1972|
|MAMA/ROBOT MAN||CONNIE FRANCIS||2||1960|
|MAMA DO THE HUMP||RIZZLE KICKS||2||2011|
|MOTHER OF MINE||NEIL REID||2||1972|
|SYLVIA'S MOTHER||DR HOOK AND THE MEDICINE SHOW||2||1972|
|MA HE'S MAKING EYES AT ME||JOHNNY OTIS AND HIS ORCHESTRA WITH MARIE ADAMS||2||1957|
|MAMA WHO DA MAN||RICHARD BLACKWOOD||3||2000|
|MAMA TOLD ME (NOT TO COME)||THREE DOG NIGHT||3||1970|
|I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS||JIMMY BOYD||3||1953|
|MAMA||JONAS BLUE FT WILLIAM SINGE||4||2017|
|MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME||TOM JONES & STEREOPHONICS||4||2000|
|DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW||ABBA||4||1979|
|MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION||PAUL SIMON||5||1972|
|HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR MOTHER BABY STANDING IN THE SHADOW||THE ROLLING STONES||5||1966|
|HEY MAMA||BLACK EYED PEAS||6||2004|
|I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS||BEVERLEY SISTERS||6||1953|
|MAMA USED TO SAY||JUNIOR||7||1982|
|MOTHER NATURE AND FATHER TIME||NAT KING COLE||7||1953|
|HEY MA||CAM'RON FT JUELZ SANTANA||8||2003|
|HEY MAMA||DAVID GUETTA/N MINAJ/AFROJACK||9||2015|
|LOOK MAMA||HOWARD JONES||10||1985|
|MA! (HE'S MAKING EYES AT ME)||LENA ZAVARONI||10||1974|
|I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS||BILLY COTTON AND HIS BAND||11||1953|
|STACY'S MOM||FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE||11||2004|
|MAMMA MIA||A TEENS||12||1999|
|BIG BAD MAMMA||FOXY BROWN FEATURING DRU HILL||12||1997|
|YOUR MAMA DON'T DANCE||POISON||13||1986|
|NO-ONE BUT YOU/TIE YOUR MOTHER DOWN||QUEEN||13||1998|
|NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON MOTHER EARTH||SPARKS||13||1974|
|MAMMA GAVE BIRTH TO THE SOUL CHILDREN||QUEEN LATIFAH AND DE LA SOUL||14||1990|
|MOTHERS TALK||TEARS FOR FEARS||14||1984|
|YOUR MOTHER'S GOT A PENIS||GOLDIE LOOKIN CHAIN||14||2004|
|PISTOL PACKIN' MAMA||GENE VINCENT||15||1960|
|RAG MAMA RAG||THE BAND||16||1970|
|TAKE YOUR MAMA||SCISSOR SISTERS||17||2004|
|MAMA NEVER TOLD ME||SISTER SLEDGE||20||1975|
|HEY MAMA||FRANKIE VAUGHAN||21||1963|
|FOR MAMA||MATT MONRO||23||1964|
|MAMA'S PEARL||THE JACKSON 5||25||1971|
|MAMA SAID||CARLEEN ANDERSON||26||1994|
|MOTHER UNIVERSE||SOUP DRAGONS||26||1990|
|DEAR MAMA||2 PAC||27||1999|
|MY MUM IS ONE IN A MILLION||CHILDREN OF TANSLEY SCHOOL||27||1981|
|MAMA||6IX9INE/NICKI MINAJ/KANYE WEST||29||2018|
|MOTHER'S DAUGHTER||MILEY CYRUS||29||2019|
|PAPA LOVES MAMA||JOAN REGAN||29||1960|
|YA MAMA/SONG FOR SHELTER||FATBOY SLIM||30||2001|
|YOUR MAMA WON'T LIKE ME||SUZI QUATRO||31||1975|
|INNA CITY MAMMA||NENEH CHERRY||31||1989|
|TIE YOUR MOTHER DOWN||QUEEN||31||1977|
|MAMMY BLUE||ROGER WHITTAKER||31||1971|
|I'LL ALWAYS LOVE MY MAMA||THE INTRUDERS||32||1974|
|HEY MAMA||JOE BROWN||33||1973|
|ON MOTHER KELLY'S DOORSTEP||DANNY LA RUE||33||1968|
|MAMA'S BOY||SUZI QUATRO||34||1980|
|A SONG FOR MAMA||BOYZ II MEN||34||1997|
|SHE'S A BAD MAMA JAMA (SHE'S BUILT, SHE'S STACKED)||CARL CARLTON||34||1981|
|MUM'S GONE TO ICELAND||BENNET||34||1997|
|THE YOUNG OFFENDER'S MUM||CARTER USM||34||1995|
|IT'S JUST PORN MUM||TRUCKS||35||2002|
|MAMMY BLUE||LOS POP TOPS||35||1971|
|HELP ME MAMA||LEMONESCENT||36||2003|
|TAKE YOUR MAMMA FOR A RIDE||LULU||37||1975|
|I GOT IT FROM MY MAMA||WILL I AM||38||2007|
|THE MOTHER WE SHARE||CHVRCHES||38||2013|
©2019 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
Don't just read the list, listen to the lot – or as many as you can take, there are quite a few genres here – on our playlist.
Article image: Wikiwand