Mother's Little Helper
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|"Mother's Little Helper"|
|Single by The Rolling Stones|
|from the album Aftermath|
|Released||2 July 1966 (US)|
|Recorded||3–8 December 1965|
|Label||London 45-LON.902 (US and Canada)|
|Producer(s)||Andrew Loog Oldham|
|The Rolling Stones singles chronology|
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Mother's Little Helper" was recorded in Los Angeles from 3–8 December 1965. The song deals with the sudden popularity of Valium (diazepam), a mild tranquilizer, among housewives and the ease of obtaining it from their GPs.
The song begins with the line, that is also heard as the last line in the repeated Bridge section: "What a drag it is getting old".
|“||Kids are different today, I hear ev'ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
The Bridge section, which is repeated, says the line: "Doctor, Please,/Some more of these,/ Outside the Door,/ She took Four More".
Toward the end of the song, the mothers are warned:
|“||And if you take more of those
you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
They just helped you on your way
through your busy dying day
The song is based around folksy chords and an eastern-flavoured guitar riff sounding like a sitar. Keith Richards has been quoted that he remembers the signature riff as being slide played on an electric 12-string. Richards states he played the riff, but the majority of sources indicate that, in fact, Brian Jones played the riff. When the band played the song live during their 1966 tours, Jones played the riff on his Rickenbacker 360/12. Richards also remembers the ending of the song being the idea of Bill Wyman, whose driving bass is a distinctive feature of the studio track.
The song is in the key of E minor, but ends in the key of G major.
- Mick Jagger - Lead Vocals, Percussion
- Keith Richards - guitars, backing vocals
- Brian Jones - 12-string guitar
- Bill Wyman - Bass guitar
- Charlie Watts - Drums
Los Ovnis (Mexican band from the 1960s) made a version titled "Pequeña Ayuda de Mamá" in 1966.
In 1968 the Chilean band Beat 4 made a version of this song called "Sólo Para Jóvenes" included in Juegos Prohibidos EP.
Mad Parade, punk/rock band from Los Angeles, California, covered the song on their Right Is Right EP, released in 1986.
Over the years the song has been recorded by many notable artists, including Gene Latter, Tesla on their 1990 live acoustic album Five Man Acoustical Jam, Liz Phair for the 2005 soundtrack to the television series Desperate Housewives, and Sum 41 for their acoustic performance on the Sessions@AOL "Sessions Under Cover" series in 2007.
The Go-Go's covered the song on their "Ladies Gone Wild" tour in 2011.