In honor of the greatest woman who has ever lived - that means you, Jane DeLuca - I hereby submit this list of my five favorite Mother's Day songs.
The Intruders are the no-brainer, but after, that the competition was steep. So with apologies to Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come," Kanye West's "Hey Mama," and the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper," let the mother-loving music begin.
"I'll Always Love My Mama," The Intruders.
The greatest of all mother-loving songs, from the Philadelphia soul group fronted by Sam "Little Sonny" Brown. Produced and cowritten by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, it wasn't the biggest Intruders hit – that would be "Cowboy to Girls" – but it's the one with universal appeal. "Because you only get one, yeah."
"Mama Tried," Merle Haggard.
Nobody loves their mamas more than rappers and country singers. The Hag sucks it up and accepts responsibility for all his miserable failings. "That leaves only me to blame, 'cause Mama tried."
"Dear Mama," Tupac Shakur.
A sentimental tribute from the thug poet's softer side, off his soul-searching 1995 album, Me Against the World, which resolves to pay back debts that are owed. "And even as a crack fiend, you always was a black queen," he raps. "You always was committed, a poor single woman on welfare, tell me how you did it."
"Mother," John Lennon.
Because sometimes she just makes you want to scream. "Mother, you had me, I never had you," the former Beatle bellowed on his 1970 Plastic Ono Band album. For a more tender take on Lennon's relationship with his mother, check the Beatles' "Julia" or the devastating 59-second solo track "My Mummy's Dead."
"My Mom," Chocolate Genius.
The most heartbreaking song about the ravages of time that I know of. "In this room where she made me, each day she grows weak," Marc Anthony Thompson, a.k.a. Chocolate Genius, sings on his 1998 album, Black Music. It's about Alzheimer's, and the overwhelming realization that "My mom, sweet mom / She don't remember my name."
Listen to excerpts from "I'll Always Love My Mama" and other songs about mothers at http://go.philly.com/mothers.