"Mother's Little Helper" (shown as "Mothers Little Helper" on the original US single's label) is a song by the English rock and roll band The Rolling Stones. It first appeared as the opening track to the United Kingdom version of their 1966 album Aftermath.
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Mother's Little Helper" was recorded in Los Angeles from 3–8 December 1965. The song deals with the sudden popularity of Valium (diazepam), a mild tranquilizer, among housewives and the ease of obtaining it from their GPs.
|“||Kids are different today, I hear ev'ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
Toward the end of the song, the mothers are warned:
|“||And if you take more of those
you will get an overdose No more running for the shelter of a mother's little helper They just helped you on your way through your busy dying day
The song is based around folksy chords and an eastern-flavoured guitar riff sounding like a sitar. Keith Richards has been quoted that he remembers the signature riff as being slide played on an electric 12-string. It has also been documented that it was played by Brian Jones on his Vox 12-string Mando-Guitar. Richards also remembers the ending of the song being the idea ofBill Wyman, whose driving bass is a distinctive feature of the studio track.
The song is in the key of E minor.
- Mick Jagger - Lead Vocals, Percussion
- Keith Richards - twelve-string guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals
- Brian Jones - Vox Mando-Guitar (?), Tambura, distorted electric guitar
- Bill Wyman - Bass guitar
- Charlie Watts - Drums
Los Ovnis (Mexican band from the 1960s) made a version titled "Pequeña Ayuda de Mamá" in 1966.
In 1968 the Chilean band Beat 4 made a version of this song called "Sólo Para Jóvenes" included in Juegos Prohibidos EP.
Mad Parade, punk/rock band from Los Angeles, California, covered the song on their Right Is Right EP, released in 1986.
Over the years the song has been recorded by many notable artists, including Gene Latter, Tesla on their 1990 live acoustic album Five Man Acoustical Jam, Liz Phair for the 2005soundtrack to the television series Desperate Housewives, and Sum 41 for their acoustic performance on the Sessions@AOL "Sessions Under Cover" series in 2007.
The Go-Go's covered the song on their "Ladies Gone Wild" tour in 2011.