Writer(s): Roger Waters (see lyrics here)
Released: November 30, 1979 (album cut)
First Charted: --
Peak: 4 CL, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): --
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 90.6 video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Pink Floyd had been around more than a decade when they released The Wall in 1979. It gave them the biggest hit of their career with the #1 song “Another Brick in the Wall Part II.” The album became one of the biggest of all time, spending 15 weeks atop the Billboard album chart and nabbing more than 30 million in sales worldwide.
The double album told a story of a rock star spiralling downward, reliving the traumas of his past and becoming increasingly disconnected from the present. “The wall” was a metaphor for all the barriers and obstructions in our lives. “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” got school children around the world chanting the lines “we don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control” in protest of the role educational institutions have in steering young minds to conformity.
“Mother,” a much quieter song without the fist-pumping, anthemic quality was just as powerful for railing against the scars inflicted by family. The Roger Waters-penned tune is the ultimate “mommy issues” rant. It is riddled with the dilemma of an adult still insecurely turning to his mother for approval and advice. The narrator asks her if they’ll like his song, if he should trust the government, and if his love interest is good enough for him.
In the context of the album, the song frames how the rock star, Pink, has partially come to feel his sense of alienation because of his upbringing by an overprotective mother. His father died during World War II leaving her to raise Pink alone. Waters sings the questions posed by Pink while guitarist David Gilmour steps in for vocal duties on the part of the mother’s responses, promising to put all of her fears into him, not let him fly, and – most importantly – help him build his wall.
Waters specifically explained the song is about “the idea that we can be controlled by our parents’ views on things like sex. The single mother of boys, particularly, can make sex harder than it needs to be.” WK While the album was semi-autobiographical, he has said the song “isn’t a portrait of my mother, although one or two of the things in there apply to her as well as to, I’m sure, lots of other people’s mothers.” SF
First posted 7/10/2022; last updated 8/3/2022.