Mother (3:52)

Cover of Lennon

From Lennon and 10 other releases

“Mother” is a song by British musician John Lennon, taken from his 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. An edited version of the song was released as a single in 1970. This version later appeared on Lennon’s 1975 compilation Shaved Fish, as well as on the 1997 compilation Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon. The single edit of this song is significantly shorter (about 3:38) than the album version. This version cuts out the beginning tolling bells as well as some of Lennon’s more guttural screams that intensify at the ending of the song. The B-side features “Why” by Yoko Ono.

Though the song is called “Mother”, it is actually a cry to both of his parents, who “abandoned” him in his childhood - father Alf Lennon left the family when John was an infant, and mother Julia was hit by a car and killed on the street by an allegedly drunk-driving off-duty policeman, when her son was 17. Lennon bemoans the loss of his parents singing lyrics such as “Mother, you had me/but I never had you”; “Father, you left me/but I never left you”; “I needed you/you didn’t need me”; and “Mama, don’t go/Daddy come home”. It is one of three songs which Lennon wrote for his mother, along with “Julia” and “My Mummy’s Dead”. The song begins with the sound of a church bell ringing ominously, signifying death.

Although Lennon said that “Mother” was the song that “seemed to catch in my head,” he had doubts about its commercial appeal and he considered issuing “Love” as a single instead. “Love” was eventually released as a single in 1982.

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