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Mother's Day Special: Celebrating moms and the music they loved

Jackie Lay

Every so often around this time of year, we like to ask listeners to tell us about the songs that remind them of their moms — songs their mothers loved or that they may have bonded over. Often, it's music imprinted during some otherwise forgettable moment — a random song that plays on the radio or appears in a film, seeps into our subconscious, and forever after triggers a cherished memory any time we hear it. Or it's a simple little song their mothers sang absentmindedly while tending to the business of raising children.

On this week's All Songs Considered, NPR Music's Mitra Arthur joins host Robin Hilton to share some of the songs we got from listeners as Mother's Day nears, and the deeply moving stories behind them. They also share memories of their own moms and the music they loved.

Featured songs and artists

  • Hoagy Carmichael, "Stardust"
  • Christina Aguilera, "Beautiful"
  • Jeannie C. Riley, "Harper Valley PTA"
  • Stevie Wonder, "Isn't She Lovely"
  • Kermit the Frog, "Rainbow Connection"
  • Phyllis Hyman, "You Know How to Love Me"
  • MILCK, "Oh, Mother"
  • Christina Perri, "You Are My Sunshine"
  • The Tokens, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
  • Four Tops, "Reach Out I'll Be There"
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock, "Wanting Memories"