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)
June 1966 (UK)
|Recorded||3–8 December 1965|
|Producer(s)||Andrew Loog Oldham|
|The Rolling Stones singles chronology|
|Aftermath track listing|
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. 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)
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 every 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, 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:
|“||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.
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, who also contributed a powerful and distinctive bass riff.
The song is in the key of E minor, but ends in the key of G major.
- Mick Jagger – lead vocals, percussion
- Keith Richards – acoustic guitar, electric 12-string slide guitar, backing vocals
- Brian Jones – acoustic guitar
- Bill Wyman – bass guitar
- Charlie Watts – drums
- Jack Nitzsche – Nitzsche-Phone
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||14|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||9|
|US Billboard Hot 100||8|
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.
- Joel Whitburn (1985), The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, ISBN 0-8230-7518-4
- Esther Inglis-Arkell. "This Is The Drug In The Rolling Stones' Song "Mother's Little Helper"". Io9.gizmodo.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- Gilliland, John (1969). "The Rubberization of Soul: The great pop music renaissance" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries. Track 5.
- Ian McPherson. "Mother's Little Helper". Timeisonourside.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5789." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – The Rolling Stones – Mother's Little Helper". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- "The Rolling Stones – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for The Rolling Stones. Retrieved 17 June 2016.