Sometimes we become so caught up in leading our lives, making our own way, learning from our own experiences, that we forget about looking back every now and then to appreciate where we came from. At the end of the day, no one will ever love you, or care for you, or fret over you like your mother does. It's okay, we've all done it; everyone has forgotten to call their mom every now and again, or text her to let her know how they're doing, or write a letter home (if that's your thing). But if anyone deserves a little something to show you care, it's your mom. The one who stayed up holding you until a black sky turned blue while you threw a fit in your crib, the one who balanced you and a shopping cart while you screamed and mewled all over her shoulder, who sat by your bed and let you bawl your eyes out about your first heartbreak. This list is handmade with classic tunes that you can bring home to mom knowing she'll approve. Remember, you're the reason she drinks, so give her a call every once in awhile. It's the least you can do, knowing she'd move mountains for you.
1. Jackson Browne - "Sky Blue And Black"
A Jackson Browne song is like gentle poetry. "Sky Blue And Black" is a sweet piano ballad by a man who had an unparalleled ability to capture the hearts and minds of the baby boomer generation in the early 70s as they were coming into their own as adults. It also happens to be my mom's favorite song (at least, the last time I checked) and one she has continually hounded me to learn so that I might sing it to her.
2. Simon & Garfunkel - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
There are few songs that fit the metaphor of a mother's love better than this one does. No matter what goes wrong, mom will be there to be your bridge and help you cross your troubled waters when your journey gets tough. It's easy to imagine this song as a lullaby, on top of already being one of the greatest songs to grace the airwaves.
3. Prince - "Purple Rain"
Prince was the bad boy on the scene, whose guitar chops, eclectic fashion sense, and songwriting genius made the girls go wild in their millions. He epitomized the phrase "women want him, men want to be him", because everyone knew that if Prince had come calling, it was hopeless. I heard an earful every time this song came on in the car all through my childhood about how my mom was obsessed with this man and this song. She told me she'd have married this man if he asked, and yours probably would have, too.
4. Richard Marx - "Now And Forever"
Honestly, a lot of this list is just songs that I know my own mother loves. She's a pretty cool (if a little archetypical) mom. She likes songs about love, and tender ballads with plenty of strings and a gentle tenor to serenade her. Part of the reason I made this list is because I know exactly what kind of songs she enjoys. Richard Marx is another ‘mom rock' favorite that is sure to make your mama flash that beautiful smile that she hates so much in photographs.
5. Elton John - "Your Song"
If your mom doesn't like Elton John, is she really even a mom? Every mother was once a young girl with dreams of her own, and Elton John has a knack for putting dreams into words. He's good with everyday blue-collar fantasies, like just being able to have a home and hearth to share with your loved ones.
6. Carole King - "So Far Away"
If you've listened to any chart-topping pop song from between 1952 and 2000, there's a good chance it was written by Carole King. Her entire life stands as a testament to strong women (like a certain someone), being the single most influential and successful female artist of the latter half of the 20th century. As far as you may fly from your nest, just remember the lyrics of this song, and don't forget to call your mom.
7. James Taylor - "Carolina In My Mind"
James Taylor was one of the holy trinity of singer/songwriter softies from the early 70s that included Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell. Each one had a talent for writing songs that were intimate, sensitive, and well suited to calm the nerves and temper the resolve of a generation that was starting to experience the trials of adulthood for the first time.
8. Dobie Gray - "Drift Away"
"Drift Away" is the quintessential soulful soft-rock smash hit of the 80s. I have always loved this R&B jewel, but I'll never forget the day it made my grandma break into song in the car; driving down a winding Alabama side-road like my car had become a gospel-mobile. If grandma will sing it, it must be safe for mom to hear.
9. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - "Helpless"
The gentle harmonies of this legendary rock quartet are a big part of what first inspired me to listen to, write, and perform rock music. I think of this song whenever the urge to just pack it up and go home sets in. Whenever life feels ugly and harsh, knowing that you've got a warm home to return to no matter what just adds that much more comfort to your life.
10. Bryan Adams - "Heaven"
It's Bryan Adams. Enough said. He practically epitomizes the genre of ‘mom rock'.
11. Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Sweet Home Alabama"
If you have a Southern mama like I do, then there's no question that they at least have a soft spot for some ‘Sweet Home'. I threw this one in because I couldn't claim to have been inspired to write this list without her help and influence in my life. Roll tide, mama.