Talk:Mother's Little Helper

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The article for the album Aftermath claims that Mother's Little Helper uses a sitar, whereas this articl contradicts that by saying it is often mistaken for a sitar, a correction must be made, but I don't know the answer. Although it does sound more like a sitar to me.

Likely Valium--

Valium was released in 1963 and by 1969 was the largest selling pharmaceutical in the USA (see valium wikipedia entry). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:33, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Not Valium[edit]

Valium was too new at this time. Nembutal was easy to overdose and yellow. Exactly as described in the song. The properties of valium are different from that which is written about. Stop changing it.J. M. (talk) 20:55, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Please refrain from telling editors what they should do. Wikipedia encourages editors to be bold in their edits. Do you have any verifiable sources to support your claims? Lame Name (talk) 02:34, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

==Misc. Discussion.

Well, I have heard both album and single version and I am sure that album version has sitar in it, but single version a guitar with harmonizer/octaver or some kind of effect pedal.

I am curious about the assertion that a "mother's little helper" was Nembutal. I always thought it referred to dexedrine, which were available as yellow tablets in the sixties. They were widely prescribed as a slimming aid and mood lifter, before the dangers were fully appreciated. Augusta2 01:30, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Actually, 5 mg. Valium (benzodiazepine) tablets were a relatively new drug, available on the National Health Service at the time. They are yellow, and the song refers to "little yellow pills' and "doctor please, some more of these". Pustelnik (talk) 22:46, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Nembutal was the common in England at the time this song was written. Valium was too new, and Yellow Submarine is supposed to have been about Nembutals. Furthermore, Nick Mason stated that Syd Barrett consumed them, and furthermore, its hard to OD from a Benzo especially compared to a barbituate. Furthermore, its also hard to overdose from Dexedrine. And Dexedrine doesn't calm most people down. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:12, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

On the other hand Nembutal is a sleeping capsule, it wouldn't be commonly used in the daytime. I was a teenager at the time and we were all certain that Dexedrine was the drug referred to. Many of our mothers were prescribed these as a pick-me-up, doctors handed them out hand over fist back then. aldiboronti (talk) 19:57, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Valium was first prescribed in 1963, so it was fairly new, however Librium, the very first benzodiazepine, similar to Valium, was released in 1960 and rapidly prescribed everywhere quickly after its release. So while it may not be valium, it is more likely referring to a benzo like Librium or Valium because by that time both drugs had begun to quickly replace the prescription of barbiturates, such as Nembutal, by the time this song was written. This is data that can be found anywhere - including Wikipedia's article on benzodiazepines. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Soco79 (talkcontribs) 04:17, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Also, the color of the pill used in the song seems like a pretty substitutable detail. Just like now, different manufacturers use different colors for the same drug all the time, and for different dosages. And the issue of overdose is also a very general detail to debate with - it may be easier to overdose on a barb then a benzo, but the blanket point of that part of the song is a general warning that any drug "Mommy" may be taking to self-medicate can cause her harm and possible overdose. I'm with the editors on this one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Soco79 (talkcontribs) 04:36, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Finally, Dexedrine is a stimulant. There was no Dexedrine epidemic, at least not compared to that of Valium, Librium and other benzos (so much that it involved one of the largest class action lawsuits ever waged against pharmaceutical companies). The Stones are clearly talking about a depressant "Mother needs something today to calm her down." While benzos were prescribed for insomnia, they were more so as an anti-anxiety medication. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Soco79 (talkcontribs) 04:46, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

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Cover versions[edit]

Am looking for a cover version by a lady once heard on the radio. Don't know who she was. Anybody can add other artists to the cover versions chapter? (talk) 22:33, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

The phrase[edit]

I'm curious as to where the phrase came from. Was this song the first example of the phrase "mother's little helper", or was it derived from e.g. a television advert, or newspaper headline? -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 19:27, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Example of phrase's use prior to Rolling Stones song[edit]

The phrase definitely does not originate with the Rolling Stones song. One example of its use predating the song is in the "Katy and Roscoe" episode of the American radio show "My Favorite Husband". In it, at around the 18 minute 31 second point of the episode, Liz (played by Lucille Ball) says "...and mother's little helper is bringing him home for dinner". According to that episode aired November 6, 1948. From the way the line is delivered it sounds as if the expression was a common one at the time. To hear the episode in its entirety, see the Internet Archive.

Furthermore, from the context and use, it is improbably that its use at the time of the radio episode had anything to do with drug use. Far more likely is that is simply an affectionate way to refer to a helpful child. Snapdragon630 (talk) 14:12, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

possible explanation for title[edit]

the origin of the line "mother's little helper" might possibly go back a lot further, back to the early 19th century. 

Opium tincture also known as "laudanum", sold under brand names like "Godfrey's Cordial" ( or "Dalby's Carminative" was apparently nicknamed "mother's little friend" or "mother's little comforter" (Davis, Comrade or Brother,2009:55) It was used to dope anyone who could not fall asleep because of severe hunger or the like. Lots of infants died of overdoses. I doubt that the grown-ups abstained from laudanum. After all, there were more than 30.000lb of opium imported to the UK and checked for consumption in the year 1835. (

With about 12 million Brits as possible consumers, you end up with at least 1gramm of opium/head/year. And 2 ounces of laudanum contained only 1 grain (64mg) of opium. You could comfort quite a number of mothers with that opium...

I think the Rolling Stones were quite aware of their nation's history. Definetly in those areas were history and drugs collided. I hope that all this will help you a bit


Actioncoordinator —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:48, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

In other media[edit]

This section seem trivial and doesn't, to me, enhance the understanding of the song's cultural importance. Any objections to deleting this section with its "Simpsons" episode and craft beer? --Cantabwarrior 00:45, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Having waited several weeks and heard no objection, I've made the deletion. --Cantabwarrior 16:00, 19 June 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cantabwarrior (talkcontribs)