NPR logo Mother's Mix: It's The Least We Could Do

Music Lists

Mother's Mix: It's The Least We Could Do

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

Mother's Mix

This year, give Mom a link to our continuous music mix — the gift that costs you nothing and involves no thought whatsoever.

Everyone has had a mother at some point. She might be a benevolent and nurturing giver of kisses, or a coldly manipulative taskmaster, or even a clump of wire onto which you clung helplessly as part of a twisted social experiment. But chances are good that you still feel the pull of guilt and social obligation surrounding Mother's Day.

So why not tell Mom you love her — without doing so directly, of course — and send her a link to this page? These four hours of motherhood-themed songs (from Smokey Robinson to Dvorak, from The Pretenders to Lucinda Williams) will give her something to listen to while she waits in vain for your phone call. To hear the stream, click here.

What song makes you think of your mom? Tell us in the comments below.


"Mother and Child Reunion," Paul Simon, Paul Simon [WXPN]

"Mama Don't Allow," Joey DeFrancesco, Ballads and Blues [WDUQ]

"Mama Told Me Not to Come," Randy Newman, 12 Songs [KUT]

Article continues after sponsorship

"I'll Always Love My Momma," The Intruders, Intruders' Greatest Hits (RCA 68161) [WXPN]

ID BREAK: David Dye from WXPN

"Mother," Kasey Chambers, Wayward Angel [Folk Alley]

"Montsalvatge: Lullaby," Julian Lloyd Webber, cello Lullaby (Philips 442 426)

Brahms "Sacred Lullaby," Jessye Norman, soprano The Jessye Norman collection: Brahms and Schuman (Philips 4504)

"Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, One Hell of a Ride [WFUV]

ID BREAK: Tara Anderson from WFUV

"Mother Rose," Patti Smith, Trampin' [WFUV]

"Play It Momma," Mary Lou Williams, Zoning [WDUQ]

"My Yiddishe Momme," Terry Gibbs, Terry Gibbs Plays Jewish Melodies in Jazztime [WDUQ]

"Mother Nature's Son," The Beatles, White Album [Folk Alley]

"Mama's Opry," Iris Dement, Infamous Angel [Folk Alley]

ID BREAK: Jim Blum from Folk Alley

"Hey Mama," Kanye West, Late Registration [WXPN]

"Mother's Little Helper," Rolling Stones, Aftermath UK [MPR/The Current]

"Mamma," Luciano Pavarotti, tenor, Pavarotti Songbook (London/Decca 433513) [American Public Media]

"Decatur, or Round of Applause for Your Stepmother," Sufjan Stevens, Illinois [MPR/The Current]

"Mama You Sweet," Lucinda Williams, West [WXPN]

"The Glamorous Life," Stephen Sondheim, A Little Night Music Original Broadway Cast Recording [American Public Media]

ID BREAK: Bill Morelock from American Public Media

"Mama You've Been on My Mind," Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3 [WXPN]

"Part of Your Own," John Gorka, Between Five and Seven [Folk Alley]

"Mother of Mine," Susan McKeown, Cathie Ryan and Robin Spielberg, Mother: Songs Celebrating Mothers & Motherhood [Folk Alley]

"Grieg: Grandmother's Minuet," Emil Gilels, piano, Grieg: Lyric Pieces (DG 449721) [WGUC]

"Ravel: Mother Goose: The Fairy Garden," Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Jarvi (Telarc 80601) [WGUC]

ID BREAK: Mark Prezel from WGUC

"My Mother's Eyes," Arthur Prysock, Arthur Prysock: Compact Jazz [WBGO]

"Bessie," The Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Crossing [WBGO]

"Nielsen: "The Fog Is Lifting," Michala Petri, recorder, Incidental music to "The Mother" (RCA 68769)

"Mother," John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band [KUT]

ID BREAK: Jeff McCord from KUT

"John Tavener: A Hymn to the Mother of God," Cambridge Singers/John Rutter, Hail Gladdening Light (Collegium 113) [WGUC]

"Puccini: Chrysanthemums," Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (DG 431680) [WGUC]

"Dear Ruth," Cedar Walton Trio, Midnight Waltz [WBGO]

"Mama Bee," Roni Ben-Hur, Signature [WDUQ]

ID BREAK: Bob Studebaker from WDUQ

"Johannes Brahms: Lullaby," Anne Sofie Von Otter, mezzo-soprano, Brahms Lieder (DG 429727) [American Public Media]

"Mozart: 12 variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je Maman" ("Mother, I could tell you")," Ingrid Haebler, piano, Complete Mozart Piano Music (Philips 464 850)

"To The Break of Sean," Atmosphere, Headshots: Seven [MPR/The Current]

ID BREAK: Mark Wheat from MPR/The Current

"Stacy's Mom," Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers [KUT]

"O Superman," Laurie Anderson, Big Science [MPR/The Current]

"The Child," Alex Gopher, Child Remixes [WFUV]

"Song for My Mother," Walt Weiskopf Nonet, Song for My Mother [WBGO]

ID BREAK: Rhonda Hamilton from WBGO

"Mama Don't Allow," Dan Barrett/Rebecca Kilgore, Being a Bear: Jazz for the Whole Family [WBGO]

"Mama's Got a Girlfriend Now," Ben Harper, Welcome to the Cruel World [KUT]

"Anonymous: "My little sweet darling," Montserrat Figueras, soprano, Ninna Nanna (AliaVox 9826) [American Public Media]

" Dvorak: Lullaby," Julian Lloyd Webber, cello, Lullaby (Philips 442 426)

"I Wish I Was Your Mother," Alejandro Escovedo, Gravity (Expanded Edition) [WFUV]

ID BREAK: Rita Houston from WFUV

"Tell Mama," Etta James, Best of Etta James [KUT]

"Mother, Mother," Tracy Bonham, The Burdens of Being Upright [MPR/The Current]

"Lou Harrison: Pastorale to my mother," Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davies, conductor, Lou Harrison: Seven Pastorales (MusicMasters 67089) [American Public Media]

"Cyril Scott: Lullaby," Julian Lloyd Webber, cello, Lullaby (Philips 442 426)

"Forever Young," The Pretenders, Last of the Independents [WFUV]

"Mama's Boy," Suzi Quatro, The Best of Suzi Quatro [MPR/The Current]

ID BREAK: Mark Wheat from MPR/The Current

"Mother Earth," The Stylistics, Can You Dig It? Soul Hits of the '70s [KEXP]

ID BREAK: DJ El Toro from KEXP

"Mother Alvin," Dave Alvin, King of California [Folk Alley]

"Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth," Neko Case, Middle Cyclone

"Mama Hated Diesels," Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen, Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers' Favorites

"Mama Tried," Merle Haggard, 16 Biggest Hits

"Shop Around," Smokey Robinson, The Best of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection

ID BREAK: Tom Huizenga from NPR Music

"For Mama," The D.D. Jackson Trio, Rhythm-Dance [WBGO]

"Say Little Mama Say," Jimmy Cobb's Mob, Only for the Pure at Heart [WDUQ]

"Schubert: Lullaby," Julian Lloyd Webber, cello, Lullaby(Philips 442 426)

"Dvorak: Songs My Mother Taught Me #4," Joshua Bell, violin, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Sony 87894) [WGUC]

"Dvorak: Songs My Mother Taught Me," Anna Netrebko, soprano, Souvenirs (DG 12217) [American Public Media]