With Mother's Day almost upon us, we can't help but look back on the days when Mom schlepped us kids around in the station wagon, minivan or what-have-you. While we were in the backseat losing french fries in the seat creases, getting chewing gum stuck to the back of Mom's headrest and picking on our kid brother or sister, mom's only comfort was in her favorite light rock or oldies stations, and the songs they played.
We like to think that the soothing sounds of Phil Collins and the Temptations probably tempered her threats -- from "I'll pull this car over right now!" and to "I'll send you straight to your room when we get home!" -- and, for that, we thank these songs.
We also think that, in some ways, those songs influenced our musical taste now -- some for the better, some (I'm looking at you Richard Marx) for the worse. While Dad spent all his time jamming to Clapton deep cuts, the pop songs that Mom loved have stuck with us since we were kids.
So mom, this one's for you.
Hit the jump, and check out 10 songs heard from the backseat while Mom drove us around town as kids.
Phil Collins - "Take Me Home
There's a special place in our heart for Phil Collins, and it probably goes back to when his music was played repeatedly on the radio. Something about the way his stadium anthems worked so well in the confines of our minivan inspired us and brought a tear to the eye, and that was just on the way to soccer practice.
Michael Bolton - "When a Man Loves a Woman
There is absolutely no excuse for this song. It's a pure mom guilty pleasure. Do you think that Michael Bolton took dead aim on the mom demographic when he decided to cover this song? If so, he's a genius.
Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"
It's almost impossible not to like Al Green. Even though, as a kid we used to complain that it sounded like he was singing into a pillow. However, our 7-year-old understanding of love didn't reach beyond the story line ofThe Princess Bride
. Now, I get it. Thanks, Mom.
The Beach Boys - "God Only Knows
Of all the music our mom jammed in the car, The Beach Boys had the biggest affect on our musical sensibilities. It wasn't The Beatles. It wasn't The Rolling Stones. It was the Beach Boys. And this song, especially the outro, was the highlight of many a trip to the bank or some other errand Mom was running.
Richard Marx - "Right Here Waiting
We're not really sure Mom actually liked this song, as we can't imagine that anyone could possibly like this song. But, in the summer of 1989, it had to be the most played song on the radio. When it played, you could hear the collective groans of children in minivans everywhere, but it still wasn't enough to get Mom to change the station.
Elton John - "Crocodile Rock
Elton John's career is full of some of the greatest songs ever written ("Tiny Dancer," "Rocket Man", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), but for some reason, Mom liked this one best. We just sat in the back of the car trying to figure out how a bunch of crocodiles ended up at some sort of sock hop.
Chi-Lights - "Oh Girl
Sometimes Mom had really great taste in music.
Chicago - "Saturday In The Park"
Sometimes Mom had really bad taste in music.
Peter Gabriel - "In Your Eyes"
Peter Gabriel, just like Phil Collins, had some pretty awesome inspirational jams. And "In Your Eyes" was probably the best one of them all. While it didn't clean the stale french fries out from between the seats, it certainly got us kids to pipe down for a few minutes.
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Down On the Corner"
All political, anti-war, protest sentiments aside, we just thought CCR was awesome. When this song would come on the radio, a party would erupt in the back of the van, which would usually take Mom a good 15 minutes to calm down -- making her wish it had been a Richard Marx song in the first place.
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Again with the sappy love songs, Mom? Looking back, this one is pretty undeniable, though. Mom loves her Motown. You could practically see the Temptations doing all those cool, old-school dance moves when this one came on the radio.