Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: December 1965 Recording location: RCA Studios, Los Angeles, USA
Producer: Andrew Oldham Engineer: Dave Hassinger
Performed onstage: 1966
Bass: Bill Wyman
Acoustic guitars: Keith Richards & Brian Jones
12-string electric guitar: Keith Richards
Lead vocals: Mick Jagger
Background vocals: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
What a drag it is getting old
"Kids are different today", I hear every mother
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 every
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 2 help her on her way, get her through her busy day
Doctor please some more of these
Outside the door, she took 4 more
What a drag it is getting old
"Men just aren't the same today", I hear every
"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 4 help you through the night, help to minimize your plight"
"Life's just much too hard today", I hear every
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
In those days, Mick and I were into a solid word-music
bag unless I thought of something outstanding, which could be used in
the title or something. I would spend the first two weeks of the tour, because it was done on the road, all of it was worked
out... An American tour meant you started writing another album. After three, four weeks you had enough and then you went
to L.A. and recorded it. We worked very fast that way and when you came off a tour you were shit hot playing, as hot as the
band is gonna be.
I think I had that song pretty well set up, arrangement-wise, when I brought it into the studio. I had the main riff. It might have
been Bill Wyman who came with (the) ending... Mother's Little Helper and Paint It Black are these semigypsy melodies. I
don't know where they came from. Must be in the blood somewhere.
Mother's Little Helper is a very strange record, like a music hall number, with an electric twelve-string on it, which made it very distinctive.
(The strange guitar sound is) a 12-string with a slide on it. It's played slightly Oriental-ish. The track just needed something to
make it twang. Otherwise, the song was quite vaudeville in a way. I wanted to add some nice bite to it. And it was just one of
those things where someone walked in and, Look, it's an electric 12-string. It was some gashed-up job. No name on it. God
knows where it came from. Or where it went. But I put it together with a bottleneck. Then we had a riff that tied the whole
thing together. And I think we overdubbed onto that. Because I played an acoustic guitar as well.
(I get inspiration from t)hings that are happening around me - everyday life as I see it. People say I'm always singing about pills and breakdowns, therefore I must be an addict - this is ridiculous. Some people are so narrow-minded they won't admit to
themselves that this really does happen to other people beside pop stars.
We've often tried to perform Mother's Little Helper and it's never been any good, never gelled for some reason - it's either me not playing it right or Keith not wanting to do it like that. It's never worked. It's just one of those songs. We used to try it live but it's a bloody hard record to play, although we did perform it live on Ed Sullivan.
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