Mother's Little Helper

Album: Aftermath (1966)
Charted: 8
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  • What a drag it is getting old

    "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

    "Things are different today"
    I hear ev'ry mother say
    Cooking fresh food for a husband's just a drag
    So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
    And goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
    And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

    Doctor please, some more of these
    Outside the door, she took four more
    What a drag it is getting old

    "Men just aren't the same today"
    I hear ev'ry mother say
    They just don't appreciate that you get tired
    They're so hard to satisfy, You can tranquilize your mind
    So go running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
    And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

    Doctor please, some more of these
    Outside the door, she took four more
    What a drag it is getting old

    "Life's just much too hard today"
    I hear ev'ry mother say
    The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
    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 Writer/s: Keith Richards, Mick Jagger
    Publisher: Abkco Music Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 24

  • Jeff from Damariscotta Methe lyrics aren't "what a drag it is getting old", which hardly makes sense along the songs conveyence of DAILY toils and anxiety. "what a drag it is getting up". Its amazing to me how one word, in this case "up", can make Jagger/Richards masterful lyrical ability awing.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 3rd 1966, "Mother's Little Helper" by the Rolling Stones entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #70; and on August 7th, 1966 it peaked at #8 (for 2 weeks) and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100 (and on its 9th & final week on the chart it was at #40)...
    The record's B-side, "Lady Jane", also made the Top 100; it reached #24 and stayed on the chart for 6 weeks...
    Was the 7th in a string of nine straight Top 10 records by the group to make Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart.
  • Matthew from Toronto, OnThe Stones hated the typical image of the American housewife of the times, and castigated her time and time again--never better than here in this song, where she really has no redeeming traits. She herself became fed up with herself by the time the 70's rolled around, when we saw "I Am Woman" and "At 17" and "You're So Vain" charge up the charts, presenting us with a very different image of women. In a way, the Stones led the woman's lib movement with this & similar songs putting down the American housewife.
  • William J. from Originally Glasgow , United KingdomThe Drugs referenced are Pheno-Barbitone and Possibly also side reference to Purple Hearts
    Drinamyl both of these were in Use in Britain in the Early Sixties
    Ludes Quaaludes were not generally Prescribed by General Practicioners The Above two were
    It does not matter what Drugs ere available in America it is a Social Commentary upon British Society The Drugs are only part of the problem it`s also referencing The Start of Supermarkets, Instant Cakes, Frozen Steaks, all quantify as "Mothers Little Helpers"
  • Peggy from Nevada, OhIt doesn't matter what the actual pill was..it could be any pill any day any way...
    I love this song and think it is funny...and true...and still is previlent in todays world..I was six years old when it came out...what a gas!!! Ha!!
  • Jason from Philadelphia, PaThe song is definitely about Methaqualone, more commonly known as Quaaludes, or just Ludes. This is the pill that is referred to as the "mother's little yellow helper" They were extremely popular, and over-prescribed during the 60's and 70's, which led to many addictions and deaths. This is where the song comes from, in particular the verse "if you take more of those, you will get an overdose".
  • Jake from Boston, MaAlso, Patrick - http://www.benzo.org.uk is a highly inaccurate site. They do say that the song references Valium, but for the reasons I gave in my previous post and the fact that the site you've referenced contains mostly misinformation, I still believe that the song is about Nembutal (pentobarbital).
  • Jake from Boston, MaI was always told Valium (Roche brand diazepam CIV), which is marketed just about the world over in the ever iconic yellow "mothers little helper" 5mg tablets (white 2mg and blue 10mg). In the US, most generic diazepam 5mg tablets are also yellow. "Outside the door, she took 4 more" since diazepam is practically non-toxic, that dose would be harmless; "if you take more of those, you will get an overdose" it is almost impossible to overdose on diazepam (Valium) unless an excessive (several hundred tablets) are consumed and combined with other depressants. In 1966, Hoffman LaRoche was only beginning to market their new drugs (Librium and Valium of the BZD class). Chances are doctors were not handing out scrips for Valium in 1966 like crazy as the drug was very new (and of a new class) and had not yet proved itself as a powerful anti-anxiety medication. MY GUESS then is that IF THIS SONG IS ACTUALLY ABOUT ANY PARTICULAR DRUG, it is probably Nembutal (brand pentobarbital CII). Nembutal was (is?) available in 100mg small yellow capsules ("pill" is an ubiquitous term). Pentobarbital is also far more habit forming and FAR MORE dangerous ("get an overdose") than diazepam. So there you go - this song may not be in reference to any particular medication, but if it is, I would guess Nembutal. But, since Valium is generally more well known (today) and was so overprescibed in the 1970s, I prefer to think that this song is about it. :)
  • Sean from Colorado Springs, CoQuaaludes, I forget where I heard this, but the song is about ludes... I believe so, at least.
  • Shannan from Wilmington, DeThis is a cool song. It was also used in Home Alone, the movie. I love the song. Brian was soooooooo talented he could play any instrument that you put in front of him. I love the Beatles song too they are number 1 on my list.
  • Pedro Paulo from Nova Friburgo, BrazilThe citar riff are hypnotizable!
  • Angie from The Sky, United Statesi havent heard this song but i really want to! it sounds good and interesting
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrWhat's up Stef.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrOne of the Stones best.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI don't have anything to add to the drug discussion, but i have a pretty funny story. One of the guys at a local radio station said he hosted a radio show and he would play this and "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane right next to each other. The DJ then went on to say that with everything being so politically correct these days you can't do that kind of thing. I didn't get it at first until I asked my dad what "White Rabbit" was about, and I told him the DJ's story. He explained to me that both songs were about people using drugs. After that, I thought it was pretty funny.
  • Lucus from Mount Airy, NcThis is a slight digression from the obvious drug-related discussion. Does anyone else dig the song's quasi-country/western type swing; you know, "doctor pleeease, some more of theeeese. . ." Musically, it's very diverse when compared to the Stone's entire oeuvre.
  • Patrick from Wevelgem, BelgiumTo end all discussion the song is definitely about Valium as you can read on http://www.benzo.org.uk/valium2.htm

    The song itself is still up to date as medication addiction is a growing problem.
  • Anna from Wellington, New ZealandMother's Little Helper is the common name of Valium, most predominately taken in 5mg pills- but nowadays mostly taken in 20mg.
  • Gregmon from Intelbuquerque, NmI always thought Valium. The colors used could be different in England, I supose?
  • Katie from Gasoline Alley, Australiathis has the best line ever: "what a drag it is getting old"

    Now you gotta love that.
  • Mr. Chimp from Brno, Czech RepublicNo, Brian Jones did not play the sitar on this, but 12-string mandolin.
  • John from Triangle , NcValium was actually availiable in 1963, so it could be either. the drugs(valium and miltown) are very similar in their target users which are middle class people who didnt want to visit shrinks because of the label of being mentally ill.
    however since the song reference to a "little yellow pill" i would have to put my guess at valium since miltown is usually a 200 mg pill or more where as valium is a 2-10mg pill.
  • Mark from Riverside, CaActually, I do not believe that Valium was on the market in 1966. The drug was likely Miltown (meprobamate) which was a widely used tranquilizer in the mid-60's
  • Don from Spokane, WaI am pretty sure that the drug referred to is valium, as in a five milligram "little yellow pill". Not sure you were aware of that. If you were, sorry to be redundant. Don
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