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Mother

by

Pink Floyd



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The movie The Wall is a semi-autobiographical story about a young boy that loses his father in the war and is raised by his overly protective mother. The child grows up alone as an outsider that absolutely does not fit in. He feels trapped by his overly protective environment while being shunned by the men around him.
Roger Waters: "If you can level one accusation at mothers, it is that they tend to protect their children too much. Too much and for too long. This 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." (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for above 2)
Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines recorded a cover version in 2013 which was the title track to her first solo album. She decided to cover the song after hearing Roger Waters perform it on his Wall tour. Waters loved her rendition, telling Rolling Stone, "I get goosebumps just talking about it."
Waters told Mojo magazine December 2009: "The song has some connection with my mother, for sure, though the mother that Gerald Scarfe visualises in his drawings couldn't be further from mine. She's nothing like that." (For the film version of The Wall, cartoonist Gerald Scarfe visualised the mother as a huge monstrous woman with a brick-wall bosom.)
Waters went on to admit to Mojo that the overly protective suffocating mother portrayed in the song has some similarities to his own mum. He said: "My mother was suffocating in her own way. She always had to be right about everything. I'm not blaming her. That's who she was. I grew up with a single parent who could never hear anything I said, because nothing I said could possibly be as important as what she believed. My mother was, to some extent, a wall herself that I was banging my head against. She lived her life in the service of others. She was a school teacher. But it wasn't until I was 45, 50 years old that I realised how impossible it was for her to listen to me."
Mojo asked Waters if his mother saw herself in the song? He replied: "She's not that recognisable. The song is more general, 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."
Pearl Jam performed this song on September 30, 2011 as part of a week long Pink Floyd tribute on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The Shins, Foo Fighters, MGMT, and Dierks Bentley all played Pink Floyd songs on the show that week.
Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason didn't play on this track. According to Roger Waters, this was because Mason had trouble with the 5/4 time signatures and other changes, as "his brain doesn't work that way." Jeff Porcaro, who was a session drummer and also a member of the band Toto, took his place. Mason was also replaced on drums (this time by Andy Newmark) on the track "Two Suns in the Sunset" from the album The Final Cut.
Pink Floyd
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Comments (58):

Sometimes it really isn't so deep. Roger lost his own father during World War II and was raised by a single mother in a time when single motherhood was not so common. He has spoken of how awful it was as a child growing up during the war when nobody's father was around and, then, one day everybody else's father came home but his.
- Ken, Philadelphia, PA
The line about breaking the balls creeps me out, but it is an awesome song. The Wall is a work of art.
- Nate, New York, NY
Love David Gilmour's guitar solos. He doesn't do anything overly flashy, he just creates these beautiful melodies that go perfectly with the songs
- Kyle, Calgary, AB
I love the last line, The kid is asking his mother does the wall need to be so high, he cant get over it, the wall signifies all the fears the the mother has put into him,
- Nikhil, Bangalore, India
I think this song is representative of any domineering figure in your life, and thats the beauty of this album the versatility of it, the way in can be meaningful to any person and i dont think that this album is entirely autobiographical. I think that they wrote The Wall as one metaphoric statement for todays society, the social isolation, the goverments growing hold over the masses, and the way the youth is in a way being molded into a "functional" members of society. A beautiful song and a beautiful album
- John, brownsvalley, CA
No matter who you are now, I think you can agree about this:

If you grew up with a single mother, you don't need to explain this song. You just understand it in a unique way that others won't understand.

And this is why I connect so well Waters' music. It's why I love the Floyd.
- Javi D., New York, NY
i aggree with bobby, everyone has differnt interpretations, esspecially cause its pink floyd, the things they come up with are insane and you really have to think about the lyrics to truely understand, and most people never really do. but maybe.
- sara, kenosha, United Kingdom
Obviously, this song is about the fact that mothers tend to protect their children way too much. Pink is referring to the wall again, the wall mothers have set. A wall that didnt need to be too high, becuase when a wall is too high no room is left for life experiences. Of coarse when something is too far out od reach it's almost habbit to break the rules especially if a mother has made those exact rules. Mother is simply is screaming mothers are too protective, but in the end their rules were only guidelines, that were meant to be crossed and will be crossed. For everyone knows a child with too many rules is always willing to risk the damage of breaking them
- Ashley, Ottawa, OH
the last line is not about "setting the bar" too high, its about the wall itself. he cant get over it because its too high.
- robert, los angeles, CA
Pink Floyd was a combination of souther blues guitarists that Roger "Syd" Keith Barrett put together. They are Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. I've never heard of these two. But, I read it somewhere. FYI
- Jeff, Casa Grande, AZ
Mother was the code-name the soviets used to signify the u.s. cia. And, the lyrics, "mother, should I run for president" gives a little taste of this, being that Roger Waters is English, a country that has no "presidents," only royalty and prime ministers. And, if you've ever listened to the Rogers' solo album "Amused to death," you'll know he is big-time into politics. So, yeah, I guess that justifies the whole mother/government conspiracy. ha ha. But, more so, this song is plain as day as it is. Mothers are way over-protective. They create horrible stories they tell to their children to keep them from doing things or going places that would harm them. Unfortunely, like every father knows, the child will not learn from fear--only raw personal experience. A father is balance to the Mother's fears. A father laughs at a child's fears becuase they are not real. He let's his child experience and face those fears he has. A mother will only keep and foster that FEAR--"did it need to be so high?" Without a father, PINK grew out of balance, different. And, he built that WALL with the help of his MOTHER. She put the first bricks in place for him. And, set him on his path of fear and isolation from the painful, "cruel world." God-bless moms, but we all need that father-figure to keep her at bay.
- Jeff, Casa Grande, AZ
i think the last line refers to the "bar" that mother set for son, imagine a son trying to live up to a standard set by a dead heroic military father he never knew- pretty tough to beat or live up to- or it could mean something eniterly differnet LOL....
- Mitz, boston, MA
The solo in this is amazing.
- Melanie, Seattle, WA
I LOVE these wildly different interpretations. Who's to say one's right or wrong? Is Roger Waters really the man to trust on the song's meaning? What's his agenda? Sure, he wrote it, but maybe he doesn't want to be totally honest about what he meant. Or maybe he meant lots of other things that he simply wasn't conscious of. So stop telling people off for having more "creative" interpretations of the lyrics. Having said that, I always thought the last line was simply about the height of the wall - the singer/pink, having spent the song asking for his mother's help and protection, realises that he can't actually see the world outside anymore, so high is the wall of love and fear his mother has built around him. But that's an obvious reading, and the stranger ones are just as valid, if not more so.
- bobby b, North West, United Kingdom
Is there a more gripping or powerfull first line of a song than "Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb"

-Ray, NY-
- Ray, New York, NY
i can relate to this song very well because my mother was a little overprotective of me considering i was a "wild child", unlike my little sisters who were angels compared to me.
- Mackenzie :), Fairmont , WV
I think the last line "mother did it need to be so high refers to the wall, the wall in effect symbolises the barrier between the character in the song and the rest of the world and btw im doing a project on language used by pink floyd to portray a point and you guys have been a huge help thanks alot :)
- Logan, Timaru, New Zealand
I believe the final line - "Mother, did it need to be so high?" is in reference to the wall, why did the wall need to be so high to keep everything out.
- Nathan, Cleveland, OH
What do you guys feel the final line - "Mother, did it need to be so high?" mean. I feel it is significant to the causality of this song being written.. I feel that its like a small chapter of what they felt could have gone wrong with Syd..
- Karan, Delhi, India
if people don't understand that this song is about his mother, while he was in total crisis, maybe you should listen to the record again and watch the movie too.WALL album its an autobiography. as simple as that.
- Santiago, Ba As, Argentina
What? this is the best guitar solo of pink floyd? are you mad? Nothing tops Comfortably Numb's solo it is by far the single greatest solo by Gilmour.
- Kris, Wichita, KS
This has THE BEST Pink Floyd solo, hands down. They had many, MANY good ones, but... if a guitar could cry, this is how it would sound.
- Sheeberson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
the song is about a boy in world war II and he is praying to an angel(mother)
- Ryan, woodbury, CT
They say Syd Barret did too much acid.
- Andrew, Los Angeles, CA
The first thing I thought 'Mother' could represent is the government. No doubt.
- Derek, South Jersey, NJ
I think he was talking about volume, the song gets softer just before he says that
- Josh, Virginia Beach, VA
I don't understand the last line... "Mother did it need to be so high?" Is he referring to the (hypothetical) wall? I know little about this, I would appreciate if anyone could offer some insight.
- John, Monvtille, NJ
Ooops, I wanted to add another thought/realization.

For better or worse, many of my values were derived from Pink Floyd, Neil Young, "Aqualung" and Andy Griffith reruns.

Pondering the thought above with the inherited baggage, only touched upon in "Mother", OK ? ... I need a minute.
- Tim, Chicago, IL
I always liked this song and it becomes very relevant at different times in my life. I do not think the words are that difficult to understand or "read", simply take them for their face value. Extremely powerful and timeless, like most Pink Floyd songs. Now as a parent, I must look carefully at the human urge to not "let anyone dirty get through".
- Tim, Chicago, IL
John from Albany, I've always thought this song was about the government (not necessarily United States) even from when I first heard it. I understand that the song fits into the plot of the wall but I also believe there's a double-meaning behind "Mother". It concerns the government as well as Pink's mother.
- Themba, Cola, SC
Mother is a metaphor for the U.S. government. "Mamma's gonna put all of her fears into you." This refers to the government scaring it's people. Over the course of History it's been done to justify war along with many other things. A strong point in the song is to not live in fear because it could be "just a waste of time."
- John, Albany, NY
this album was meant to be listened to all at the same time; it's telling a story. the fact that this song comes after another brick in the wall (pt. 2) it perhaps could mean that his mother is just another brick in the wall, or perhaps that she is the wall. if this is true then the line "of course momma's gonna help build the wall" means that she is going to put herself in between him and the real world.
- Charlie, coolsville, NY
There was never anything that indicated that Waters realized his mother loved him. The only realization he came to was that he had been horrible to his wife ("The Trial", remember, took place inside his own head, so while his "wife" was lobbing insults at him, it signified that he finally realized that it was his fault she left him) The schoolmaster and his mother were simply how he envisioned them: One, a puppet of his "fat, psychotic wife", and the other giant and overbearing.
- Jordan, Hammond, LA
Roger Waters never went insane.
- Gilmour, Lockport, NY
This song is about an overprotective mother. But thats only because thats how Roger Waters felt when he was insane. After he tore down the wall he realized that his mother loved him.
- Dan, uh oh, CA
This song is about Waters being protected by an overprotective mother. He was so sad when he found out who his father was
- Andy, Apex, NC
An excellent song, can definitely be related to a lot of people, love it...
- Gerard Howard, Lone Tree, CO
I can't help but play air guitar when Gilmour hits the first note of the solo
another brilliant Floyd song
- Derek, Sarnia, Canada
Such a sad song, may mean sadness about wanting to return to carefree childhood, and being able to rely on "mother" to solve your problems. Sad

"Mother, should I trust the government?" Short answer- No.
- Ashley, Moncton, Canada
mommas gonna put all of her fears into you, to me shows how a mother wants every thing about her to carry on through you even her fears
- brian, why?, IL
I think this song reminds me of myself as a teenager and growing up in confusion. Not knowing what to trust and seeing the world as it really is, harsh and cold. "Mother should I build a wall?" the boy asks. Should I build a wall to protect myself from the world? A teenager might say, To protect myself from unpleasantness? Is that just a waste of time?
- Candy, Roswell, NM
Andrew... I believe Andres is referring to the movie, in which the manager pays a doctor to administer something that is injected into Pink's arm prior to the concert. This occurs during the Comfortably Numb sequence. You are correct, however, that Waters' illness was the inspiration for the song. BTW... the line is "my hands felt just like two balloons"
- Tim, Washington, DC
"Mother, should I trust the Government?" Well, thats the best line in the world. WOnderful song, about a boy asking his mom on advice for life, as he builds his fictitous wall from the wall. I still cant answer that question.
- Stephen, Steamboat, CO
this album isn't supposed to be about syd barrett or roger waters. part of their lives are intertwined into the story, but its not even close to a biography or either one. its just about...pink floyd like a person. at least thats what i think waters meant in the interview...
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
Andres, the song comfortably numb is not about sid barrets manager doing drugs, it is about how when roger waters was groing up he suffered from Heppatites B and he needed a booster shot. the lines,"When I was a Child I had a fever, My hands just felt to blue, Now I've got that feeling once again." These explain how he had heppatites B when he was young and how he felt the symtoms as an adult. A booster shot would be administered to a person who suffered these symptoms.
- Andrew, Austin, VT
I've gotta say... The Wall is perfect for any frustrated teen. especially this song, as it's lyrics perfectly talks about your parents in a way that you maybe wouldn't dare to...
- Petter, Ã?ngelholm, Sweden
Rick Wright is not on The Final Cut
- Gilmour, Lockport, NY
Yeah Nathan, the solo is my fave too. The drummer hitting the ride cymbal bell behind the solo really compliments the whole crying vibe. (or whatever emotion you feel is right)
- Don, San Antonio, TX
Richard Wright was an original member of the band, and did not become a session player until after he was essentially kicked out by Roger during the Wall (although he was on the Wall as a member of the band.) He was only a session musician for The Final Cut and A Momentary Lapse of Reason. He was back as a full member for The Division Bell.
- Lisa, Philadelphia, PA
Ummm... Kent? i don't get what you're talking about Rick Right being a session musician. He was in the group when they did 'dark Side Of the moon' and maybe earlier than that. i think he wrote a song on one of their earlier albums.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
the song sort of seems like it's ablut syd Barrett to me. Anyone agree?
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
this song is awesome..especially the solo...
- Nathan, Memphis, TN
The only song in which Nick Mason did not play drums. They were instead played by Jeff Porcaro, a session superstar who played with groups like Steely Dan among others. Roger claimed he did this because Nick just couldn't "get" the drum part.
- Kent Lyle, Palo Alto, CA
Since he was only a studio musician by this time, one has to guess which songs Rick Wright actually contributed to on this album. My guess is this is one of them. When the piano hits an unusually jazzy minor chord during the verses, I immediately think of Wright.
- Kent Lyle, Palo Alto, CA
one of my favorite songs i like the fact that all he wants is his mothers aproval and never seems good enough and he thinks it's all his fault, he believes himself a failure, and thus hides behind a wall shielding himself from the outside world building up anger and sadness until he has to tear down the wall and understand that his shielding only made it harder for him to cope with the real world, just my 2-cents
- eric, Caldwell, KS
But you are right waters life was intertwinded a little into the album
- Andres, Santa Rosa, CA
The Wall was semi-BIOGRAPHICAL of Syd Barrett's (the original singer for Floyd) life. He was having troble with the band, left, then went insane shortly there after. The "Wall" is metaphorical for the mental wall that Pink (the character in the album) created between himself and the real world. The album has songs that refer to Pinks father who died in WWII and how after his mental breakdown, the band manager tryed to get him to perform by giving him drugs (Comfortably Numb). The second to last song, The Trial, is him trying himself for realizing what he had done by building The Wall. It is a great movie if you ever get to see it. It has music from The Wall and Final Cut. Don't be surprised that Pink doesn't say a word through out the entire film.
- Andres, Santa Rosa, CA
Consider for a moment... What if mother is a metaphor for ANY 'mother figure'... Perhaps Some people look for guidance and acceptance in say, government, religion, etc... Then consider the fact that only you have your best interest in mind. Hense, "Mother do you think..." --- "Hush now baby baby..."
- Randy, Bolivar, NY
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