Mother's Little Helper

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"Mother's Little Helper"
Single by The Rolling Stones
from the album Aftermath
B-side "Lady Jane"
Released June 1966 (1966-06)
Format 7"
Recorded 3–8 December 1965
Genre Psychedelic pop
Length 2:40
Label London
Writer(s) Jagger/Richards
Producer(s) Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones singles chronology
"Paint It Black"
(1966)
"Mother's Little Helper" / "Lady Jane"
(1966)
"Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?"
(1966)
Aftermath track listing

"Mother's Little Helper" is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones. It first appeared as the opening track to the United Kingdom version of their 1966 album Aftermath.

It was released as a single in the United States and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Singles Charts in 1966. The B-side "Lady Jane" peaked at #24.[1] The song deals with the sudden popularity of prescribed calming drugs among housewives, and the potential hazards of overdose or addiction. The drug in question is variously assumed to be meprobamate or diazepam (valium)[2]

Composition[edit]

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Mother's Little Helper" was recorded in Los Angeles from 3–8 December 1965.

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".

The bridge section, which is repeated, has 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:

The song is based around folksy chords and an eastern-flavoured guitar riff sounding like a sitar, but is a slide riff played on an electric 12-string.

Keith Richards stated in 2002: "(The strange guitar sound is) a 12-string with a slide on it. It's played slightly Oriental-ish. The track just needed something to make it twang. Otherwise, the song was quite vaudeville in a way. I wanted to add some nice bite to it. And it was just one of those things where someone walked in and, Look, it's an electric 12-string. It was some gashed-up job. No name on it. God knows where it came from. Or where it went. But I put it together with a bottleneck. Then we had a riff that tied the whole thing together. And I think we overdubbed onto that. Because I played an acoustic guitar as well." Richards also remembers the ending of the song being the idea of Bill Wyman [4]

The song is in the key of E minor, but ends in the key of G major.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[5] 14
Germany (Official German Charts)[6] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 8

Cover versions[edit]

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.

Mary Coughlan covered the song on her 1990 Uncertain Pleasures album.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joel Whitburn (1985), The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, ISBN 0-8230-7518-4
  2. ^ "This Is The Drug In The Rolling Stones' Song "Mother's Little Helper"" http://io9.gizmodo.com/this-is-the-drug-in-the-rolling-stones-song-mothers-li-1693032181
  3. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "The Rubberization of Soul: The great pop music renaissance" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.  Track 5.
  4. ^ http://www.timeisonourside.com/SOMothersLittle.html
  5. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5789." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Rolling Stones – Mother's Little Helper". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  7. ^ "The Rolling Stones – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for The Rolling Stones. Retrieved 17 June 2016.