Mar 272012

What was up with that trend in the ’70s of calling your significant other “Mama”? I’m glad it has fallen out of favor because it always struck me as creepy, but I’d like to document just how widespread it was.

Please name a song in which the singer calls the object of their desire “Mama.” The person being called “Mama” cannot be the singer/narrator’s mother. The song does not have to be from the ’70s.

I’ll start with “Rock n Roll Mama,” by the Raspberries.


  71 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Rock and Roll Mama”

  1. “Black Dog.” Hand over the fucking belt.

    FYI, in my experience, Latina women really do habitually call their lovers “Papi” in bed. Make of that what you will.

  2. Up On Cripple Creek (“so I guess I’ll call up my big Mama and tell her I’ll be rolling in…”)

  3. misterioso

    The Band, “Rag Mama Rag.”

  4. “Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind,” Bob Dylan

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh, Lord. This will go on for- f*cking- EVER. How many songs DON’T contain the word “mama”?

  6. misterioso

    Steppenwolf, “Hey Lawdy Mama.”

  7. Before I try to come up with some rare examples of this phenomenon, a true story…

    In high school and my first year or two of college I worked summers at a friend’s family’s baby clothing business. My friend, a fellow Townsman, and I had a great time working in the stockroom. The working guys we loaded and unloaded flats with – guys of varied races and ages but all at a lower economic level than us – were a lot of fun. I knew a lot of guys like this from my grandparents’ luncheonette in a nearby part of town. We talked sports, women, and all sorts of shit, as groups of sweaty workin’ guys are known to do. My friend and I, college-track goody two-shoes, were often the butt of jokes, but that was cool and to be expected. We were accepted by these men who did not get to go off to some comfy private school in September.

    The factory in which we worked had an auxiliary warehouse in an even grittier part of Philadelphia. Every once in a while we had to go to the auxiliary warehouse in this really shitty location (a part of the city that hipsters today have begun inhabiting and fixing up as much as possible). The regulars at the auxiliary warehouse were of a lower socioeconomic class. Whereas the regulars we worked alongside followed the same sports we did (baseball, football, basketball) and in many cases had wives, serious girlfriends, and kids, the guys in the auxiliary warehouse were much harder to place. To put it bluntly and undelicately, they seemed like guys who were dragged out of a gutter for day labor. One time I was in the bathroom, washing my hands, when a sweaty little guy walked in, nodded my way, grabbed a can of Lysol, and sprayed it under his armpits. Working at the auxiliary warehouse was a drag. I remember complaining to my Mom those nights that I had nothing in common with those guys. “They don’t even like regular sports,” I told her, “They’re the kind of people who think professional wrestling is real!”

    I try my hardest to be a friendly guy in any circumstance. I was working alongside one of these guys one day, a guy maybe only 5 years older than me (16 or 17, at the time), when he started asking me if I had an “old lady.” I know it’s hard to believe, as worldly as I am today, but I was really naive. “Sure,” I answered, thinking of my Mom. He proceeded to tell me things he did the previous night with his old lady that I was pretty sure not even a guy working at this warehouse day-to-day would do to his Mom. That was the day I learned the meaning of “old lady.” Had this guy been a rock ‘n roll singer he probably would have sung songs about a “Mama” who was not, in fact, his mother.

  8. alexmagic

    Testing one out: In “Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks, is the mama of “Ah save me, save me, save me from this squeeze. I got a big fat mama tryin’ to break me…” a failed object of desire? His mother-in-law? The IRS? If it’s his mother-in-law, (a big fat mama, but not his big fat mama) as I’ve long figured, does that count?

    Incidentally, when I was young, I thought this was the funniest line in any song ever because I imagined that he was literally being sat on by the mother-in-law mentioned earlier in the song.

  9. Love Gun by KISS, containing the Robert Frost inspired line, “I’ll be a gambler, baby, lay down a bet, we’ll get together mama, you’ll sweat!”

  10. “Crazy Mama” – JJ Cale

  11. “Take out your false teeth, mama, I wanna suck on your gums” – from the live “Whammer Jammer” by J. Geils Band.

  12. “Mama,” ’80s-era Genesis’ ode to a prostitute. No comment.

  13. “Goose Step Mama” – The Rutles

  14. Cakewalk into Town by Taj Mahal “Throw your big leg over me mama, I might not feel this good again”

  15. 2000 Man

    Crazy Mama by The Stones.

  16. Pretty — Rick Derringer throw a few Lawdy Mama’s into Rock N Roll, Hoochie Koo, I recall he want said mama to “light his fuse.”

  17. A clearly vexed Bob Dylan/Rod Stewart puts on a brave face by declaring “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind.”

  18. Foreigner, “Hot Blooded,” as in “Are you hot, mama? You sure look that way to me” as Les Nessman dons his toupee and adjusts his ascot


  19. 2000 Man

    Joe Walsh – Help Me Through the Night. Help me through the night, mama, help me to ease the pain or something like that.

  20. misterioso

    Oh, mama, can this really be the end? To be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again?” LMS, and prepared to soldier on only with Dylan songs. He was a major mama’s boy.

  21. tonyola

    “Red Hot Mama” – Funkadelic

  22. cliff sovinsanity

    You couldn’t shut up, you had a bad bad brain Mamamamamama “Mama’s Boy” – The Ramones

  23. BigSteve

    There’s the John Cale song (from the Fear album ) Momomma Scuba, but I’m not going to vouch for what it’s really about.

  24. BigSteve

    Does Stacey’s Mom count?

  25. Carl Carlton, “She’s a Bad Mama Jama!” She’s built, she’s stacked!


  26. ladymisskirroyale

    Elvis Presley – That’s All Right

  27. tonyola

    “High On You Mama” – Steve Miller Band

    “Don’t you know that I’m high on you mama
    Don’t you know that I’m high on you girl
    Don’t you know that I’m high on a feeling
    Don’t you know that I’m high cause you’re here”

  28. I still think “Black Dog” is the winner…

  29. “Yama Yama Pretty Mama” – Richard Berry

  30. tonyola

    “Keep On Truckin'” – Hot Tuna

    “Keep on truckin mama,
    truck my blues away
    I said, Keep on truckin mama,
    truck my blues away
    Here You come Babe as big as sin
    I can tell what you been doin by the shape your in
    So Keep on truckin mama,
    truck my blues away…”

  31. BigSteve

    Otis Redding, Hard to Handle

  32. “Rock, Pretty Mama” – Billy Adams

  33. BigSteve

    Tough Mama, Bob Dylan (from Planet Waves). Great song.

  34. H. Munster

    “Don’t worry, don’t worry, Mama.” The Joker — Steve Miller Band

    I have the feeling that Steve Miller likes the word and uses it a lot, but I can’t think of any more examples other than the one Tonyola posted above.

  35. Neil Young-Motorcycle Mama

    Motorcycle Mama
    Won’t you lay your big spike down

    • tonyola

      A group called Sailcat had a 1972 hit with a song by the same name.

      “Tell your Daddy and your Mama too
      You got something better to do
      Stick around the house the rest of your life
      You’re eighteen you can do what you like
      You’ll be the queen of my highway
      My motorcycle mama
      We’ll see the world through my Harley.”

  36. Boston – “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”

    “Let me take you home tonight
    Mamma now it’s alright”

  37. Happiness Stan

    And another Dylan one, “Tell Me Mama”

  38. “oooh mama, oooh mama, oooh mama / you’ve got me on your wavelength” Van Morrison

  39. BigSteve

    Dylan, Crash on the Levee “Oh mama, ain’t you gonna miss your best friend now?”


  40. “Hip Shakin’ Mama” – Jackie Lee Cochran

  41. “Mama-say mama-sah ma-ma-coo-sah”

    Discuss amongst yourselves


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