Mother's Day: 10 of the greatest and emotional songs about mums

9 March 2024, 14:21

Mamma Mia 2
Picture: Universal

By Tom Eames

It's Mother's Day this weekend, so what better time to celebrate the best ever songs about the relationships between mums, daughters and sons?

We've collected some of the finest songs about mums that are guaranteed to make you feel all emotional.

  1. Madonna - 'Promise to Try'

    Madonna - Promise To Try (Official Music Video)

    This emotional song from the Like a Prayer album is about the death of Madonna's mother when she was just five.

    In one part, she specifically asks "Does she hear my voice in the night when I call?". Later, an adult admonishes a child by saying: "Little girl, don't you forget her face/Don't let memory play games with your mind/She's a faded smile frozen in time".

  2. Taylor Swift - 'The Best Day'

    Taylor Swift - The Best Day

    This song is a love letter to Taylor Swift's mother, Andrea Swift, who often joins her daughter out on tour.

    The song was inspired by an incident during middle school, when Taylor called several of her friends to see if they wanted to go shopping with her. However, every girl had a different excuse. Eventually, her mother agreed to take her.

    When they arrived, Taylor saw all of the girls she had called, mucking about in Victoria's Secret.

    Taylor eventually had to drop the song from her tour set list as her mother burst into tears backstage every time she heard it. Andrea explained: "She had to drop it from the set because I kept breaking down."

  3. Billy Joel - 'Rosalinda's Eyes'

    Billy Joel - Rosalind's Eyes (Audio)

    This song is about Billy Joel's mother, Rosalind Nyman Joel.

    Rosalind was hugely supportive of her son and always supported his musical ambitions from a young age, which Billy said he was very thankful for.

    Rosalind passed away on July 13, 2014 at the age of 92.

    The lyrics go:

    Oh Havana I've been searching for you everywhere
    And though I'll never be there
    I know what I would see there
    I can always find my Cuban skies
    In Rosalinda's eyes

  4. Kacey Musgraves - 'Mother'

    Kacey Musgraves - Mother (Official Music Video)

    Taken from country singer Kacey Musgraves' massively successful 2018 album Golden Hour, this song sees her crying as she recognises herself in her own mum.

    Kacey has said that she wrote this song in about 15 minutes and is the most meaningful on the album.

    She said: "I got really tripped out thinking about my mom - she actually texted when I was tripping - and it made me nostalgic and emotional. I started thinking about the cycle of moms and life."

  5. Spice Girls - 'Mama'

    Spice Girls - Mama

    Each of the five Spice Girls contributed to the writing of this ode to mothers everywhere.

    Mel B said: "We wrote 'Mama' when I was going through a bad phase with my mum. The sentiments are really that your mum's probably the best friend that you've got. Whether she's an over-protective mother or a bit of a landmine, she probably knows you better than yourself in some ways."

    Mel C added: "Mama's all about how you're such a cow to your mum when you're going through that rebellious teenage stage. Then when you get a bit older, you realise that whatever she was doing, she was only doing it for your own good. And you think: 'God, I was really horrible.'"

  6. Celine Dion - 'Because You Loved Me'

    Celine Dion Because You Loved Me

    This emotional power ballad is about Celine thanking a loyal loved one for guiding, and protecting her throughout her life, and making her who she is today, and is perfect for Mother's Day.

    Having said that, writer Diane Warren said that the song was a tribute to her father. So it's actually perfect for any parent or guardian!

  7. Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfriend - 'My Love, My Life'

    Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again - My Love, My Life (Lyrics) 1080pHD

    While the original ABBA version of this song wasn't necessarily about mothers, it has since taken on a whole new meaning after Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus added lyrics for Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again!.

    One of the final scenes of the movie sees Amanda Seyfried's Sophie duet with the spirit of her late mother, played by Meryl Streep. It was easily one of the most emotional cinematic moments in years.

  8. Carole King - 'Where You Lead'

    Where You Lead (full theme song from "Gilmore Girls") lyrics

    While originally considered as either a love or biblical song, this track has taken on a new meaning about the bond between mothers and daughters.

    It later served as the theme song to the TV series Gilmore Girls, a show focusing on a mum and daughter duo and their friendship, for which Carole King re-recorded it with her own daughter Louise Goffin.

  9. Dolly Parton - 'Coat of Many Colours'

    Dolly Parton - Coat of many colors

    This classic song tells of how Dolly's mother stitched together a coat for her daughter out of rags given to the family.

    While sewing the coat together, she told Dolly the biblical story of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colours. The excited child, "with patches on my britches and holes in both my shoes", headed to school, "just to find the others laughing and making fun of me" for wearing a coat made of rags.

    But it ends: "Now I know we had no money, but I was rich as I could be, In my coat of many colours my momma made for me."

    We're not crying...

  10. The Beatles - 'Let It Be'

    Let It Be (Remastered 2009)

    The title track of The Beatles' final album, this anthem saw Paul McCartney take to the piano to get his emotional message out.

    McCartney said the song came after he had a dream about his mother Mary during a tense period surrounding the sessions for the White Album in 1968.

    He later explained that his mother – who died of cancer when he was 14 – was the inspiration for the "Mother Mary" lyric: "I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing 'Let It Be'."