Patti Smith and her three siblings were all sickly and her parents struggled to pay their medical bills. Consequently, there was financial strife in the household and she grew up poor.
Smith wrote this song for her mom. The poet-singer explained to UK newspaper The Observer: "She always dreamed about winning the lottery. But she never bought a lottery ticket! She would just imagine if she won, make lists of things she would do with the money - a house by the sea for us kids, then all kinds of charitable things."
In 1977 Sammy Hagar covered the song with an orchestra on his Red album. At the 2007 Hall of Fame ceremony when both artists were inducted, Patti Smith asked Hagar why he recorded that song and he replied that his producer brought it to him, without him knowing it was hers. Hagar had just liked the song so he laid down his own version.