Monday’s Music Moves Me: Mom and Family

Yes, I know, it could just as easily be the father, but I liked the picture.Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay

Happy day after Mother’s Day! Cynthia wants songs about mothers or families, and as you can probably expect, I have my own angle on it. Here are ten songs about mothers and families…

  1. Level 42, “Running In The Family” Title track from their 1987 album which produced four Top 10 singles in the UK and Europe, including “Lessons In Love,” which also reached #12 in the US. They should have done better here.

  2. John Lennon/The Plastic Ono Band, “Mother” From their eponymous 1970 album, this reached #19 on the Cash Box Singles chart but only #43 on the Hot 100. This is the album cut, which is over a minute longer than the single.

  3. Chicago, “Mother” From Chicago III, their 1970 release, a song about how we’re destroying Mother Earth.

  4. Queen Latifah, “When You’re Good To Mama” From the 2002 film adaptation of the Broadway hit Chicago, which starred Rene Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere. Queen Latifah played Mama.

  5. Madness, “Our House” I don’t know if I like the song or the video better, but this look at family life in lower-middle-class England reached #7 in the US, #5 in the UK, and #1 in Canada.

  6. The Beatles, “Lady Madonna” “Madonna” is often used when referring to Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the woman seems to be doing a lot of domestic and child-rearing tasks, so this fits. Paul McCartney said he was trying to write a Fats Domino-type song, and he did such a good job that Fats covered it later in 1968. Reached #1 in the UK, #2 in Canada, and #4 in the US.

  7. Al Jolson, “Mammy” A lot has been written about Jolson’s performance of this song in blackface, some of it discussing how Jack Robin (Jolson’s role) was ashamed to sing ragtime because his father had been a cantor (played by future “Charlie Chan” actor Warner Oland), others decrying the use of blackface as being disparaging to African Americans, but one thing is certain: The Jazz Singer‘s place in history as the first “talkie.”

  8. Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, “Those Were The Days” O’Connor and Stapleton sing the theme song from their show, All In The Family, in character as Archie and Edith Bunker.

  9. Sly & The Family Stone, “Family Affair” This was a huge hit for them in 1971, reaching #1 on the Cash Box Singles chart, the Hot 100, and the R&B Singles chart.

  10. Johnny “Guitar” Watson, “A Real Mother For Ya” Just couldn’t resist when I saw it on the page with “Family Affair.”

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 11, 2020.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

23 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Mom and Family

  1. Enjoyed your selections in two different sessions of reading this blog post. I learned a lot just reading the comments in You Tube on the Al Jolson song. Some of these songs I hadn’t heard in years. And now, I am listening to Level 42’s Something About You because…well, because, even though it has nothing to do with your lead song (which I had never heard).

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  2. Very eclectic especially with the mammy song which needs to be part of history because this is what was the “in” thing to do in Vaudeville and in some films. One shudders at it now but we must always place things into perspective. Love Our House and danced to this more than once at whatever disco place was around. One song I don’t care for is the 2nd one with John Lennon screeching…not my favourite…sorry John L

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    1. A history professor whose blog I follow calls that “presentism,” when you judge things in the past by today’s rules. Lennon wasn’t my favorite Beatle, which isn’t to say that he didn’t write good songs. I think Yoko was a bad influence…

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  3. Out of all of these tunes I must say Al Jolson is my favorite. I never even thought of that one. You always come up with the ones no one else does. Great job John. All are good and a lot of tunes that just makes you bob your head and get into the groove! YOU DEFINITELY GOT THE HOUSE ROCKIN’ TODAY JOHN! BE SAFE! BE HEALTHY!

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  4. A comprehensive selection. Enjoyed the clip, thank you. Re the pic – mothering isn’t a gender specific job.

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  5. John,

    You did a great job on your mix song set playlist for today’s theme. I like that you not only included songs about/for mom but the family, too. ‘Running In The Family’ is a tune I do not remember and I enjoyed hearing it for the first time. I’m not sure why I don’t recall it or why it never reached my ears before now. Thanks for joining the 4M crew on the dance floor this week, my friend. Y’all take care and be well now. 😉

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  6. That Level 42 album provided me with a lot of listening enjoyment back in the 80’s. I haven’t heard it for many years, but my copy is on cassettes. Sadly don’t listen to cassettes anymore though I probably still have that album somewhere.

    Al Jolson is one of my favorite entertainers from the past. I saw the two Jolson biopics with Larry Parks when I was a kid and absolutely loved those films. Didn’t see them again until I bought copies of each on DVD about 10 or 15 years ago–still very good films though not totally historically accurate even though Jolson himself had a creative hand in their making.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I can’t understand why Level 42 never did well here. I had “Running in the Family” on cassette as well; I bought it because I had read an article about Mark King in Guitar Player and was curious. My cassette collection is sitting in a landfill somewhere, but there’s always YouTube and Spotify.

      Maybe the Jolson films aren’t historically accurate because Jolson had a creative hand in their making…?

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      1. I got my Level 42 cassette in Canada which is also where I first heard their music. They were getting a lot of airplay there.

        I think you’re right about the Jolson influence in making the film. After I had watched the DVD’s I became somewhat fixated about finding more about Al Jolson. There is a sad dearth of biographical material that I could find in the L.A. library system about him, but the one biography that I did read revealed a more interesting story than told in the movie. I think there were legal considerations about people depicted in the film with fictional representations (like his wife Ruby Keeler) which required changing names and events.

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