In fact, the first "mother" songs that popped into my head -- "Mother" by John Lennon, "Mothers of the Disappeared" by U2, "Mother Son" by Psychedelic Furs -- are all depressing and full of angst, not exactly the musical message anyone wants to send to mom on her special day.
Then I remembered "Thanks for My Child," the beautiful 1988 hit by Cheryl Pepsii Riley, but, like Patti Smith's "The Jackson Song" (from Dream of Life), Lauryn Hill's "To Zion" (from The Miseducation...) and Madonna's "Little Star" (from Ray of Light), that's a lullaby from a mother to her offspring, therefore it's more appropriate for Children's Day, which doesn't actually exist, although any mother might say that every day is children's day.
"Mama" by Genesis (from the 1983 Genesis album), like the "mom" songs mentioned above, is a great tune, but it's a decidedly dark one, too. While it might be perfectly acceptable to blame everything on the mother in therapy (and the shrink of the hooker-obsessed protagonist in the Genesis tune would have a field day!), for one day, let's let her off the hook, shall we?
What about the Judds, the most famous mother and daughter singing duo ever? (To be completely honest, I can't actually think of another one.) The first Judds song I ever heard was "Mama He's Crazy," but that would probably be more fitting on Valentine's Day. Anyway, from everything I've read and from what I saw in the 1994 TV biopic Love Can Build a Bridge (starring Ashley Judd as herself), Naomi and Wynonna haven't always had the warmest, fuzziest mom-daughter rapport. Moving right along...
There's no 'mother" in the title, and I was never 100 percent certain that the song, written by Meg Keene and not Chrissie Hynde (who, incidentally, once hit No. 1 in the UK covering the Judds' "Love Can Build a Bridge," with fellow moms Cher and Neneh Cherry), was actually a tribute to mom, but in my mind, it worked as one -- and still does.
To all the mothers out there, this one's for you.