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This week’s column was as challenging as trying to figure out what to get my mom for Mother’s Day.  Should I go the usual flowers and card route, which would be the equivalent of writing about the Great Mothers of Rock that would only end up with me rationalizing that Chrissie Hynde, is slightly more important than the hipster Patti Smith.  Then I thought a more extravagant gift, like a craft project, but that would be analogous to me giving you a Mother’s Day playlist for your celebratory brunch.


Rather I’m going to reach this year and declare the best song about a mom is Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come.”  Though most consider the song as a Three Dog Night number, Newman originally wrote the song for the Animal’s Eric Burden.   Burden’s version, which appeared on his solo debut album in 1966, contains a bouncy organ instead of the Three Dog Night electric piano while the song’s cadence leans on a groovy jazz beat with horns playing a more prominent role than on the Three Dog Night’s far more popular cover.


The Three Dog Night account also benefits from the lead vocal interpretation of Denny Hutton being supported with vintage TDN’s harmonies of Cory Wells and Chuck Negron.  The band made a career out of translating obscure songwriters’ works and turning them into mainstream hits like Harry Nilsson’s “One” and Laura Nyro’s “Eli’s Coming” but it’s their notable presentation of Newman’s ode to a sheltered young man’s first adventure into a mad world filled with wild parties, whiskey drinking, loud music and even the dreaded cigarette smoking, that makes it the best of songs about mom.


Regardless of whose version you prefer, it’s the song’s lyrics that establish it as a favorite Mom’s Day tune. It’s a tale both mother and child can appreciate. The song’s creepy intro conjures up an initiation into an unknown world of a freshman’s first week away at school. There’s the adamant refusal of the song’s green narrator to accept what he sees as he enters another world, “Don’t turn on the lights, I don’t want to see.” Yet he continues to push through the crowd seeking more wisdom, all the while he is consciously aware of his mother’s admonition, probably coming on the door steps of the dorm as she left her son to become a man.


More often though the narrator is beset by what he sees as he deals with life’s new awakenings, “I’m looking at my girlfriend she’s passed out on the floor.” His curiosity and growth remains guided by his mother’s lingering advice.  He never real leaves the party, which might be indicative of his accepting this new transformation from boy to man, yet he still is driven by his mother’s principles.


For mothers, the song is an alarming reality check but reassuring in its protagonist’s decision to stay true to his upbringing. Moms can’t prevent their children or completely protect them from life’s moral challenges, but if strong, principled ideals have been instilled during one’s formative years, their kids just might make the right choices.  And similar to Newman’s sheltered hero’s eventual resolution in the song Three Dog Night took to number 1 in 1970, it’s enough to make a mother proud.  Sure it’s a mama’s boy suggesting that mama was right all along, but you know, they usually are. And a son’s actualization of his mother’s advice is about the best gift one can give his mom. Happy Mothers’ Day mom,  I should have listened more.
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May 2013 - Page 3 of 3 - KZYR 97.7
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Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Best Song For Mothers Day


; This week’s column was as challenging as trying to figure out what to get my mom for Mother’s Day. Should I go the usual flowers and card route, which would be the equivalent of writing about the Great Mothers

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Colorado Opens New State Park

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It’s been almost 30 years since Frances H. Staunton turned over her 1,720-acre mountain ranch to the State of Colorado, stipulating that it was “to be preserved in perpetuity” as a state park. Frances died in 1989, but, on May

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LeAnn Rimes Headlines in Gypsum

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County music’s double Grammy award winner LeAnn Rimes will headline the 2013 Gypsum Daze. THe event labeled as Three Days of Big Fun in a small Town will also feature Collin Raye and Imaj. Festivities start on Thursday July 18th

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Kerri Walsh Coming To Vail

Kerri Walsh in Vail

Three time Olympic volleyball champion Kerri Walsh will be hosting a clinic June 14-17 hosted by King Of The Mountain Open.   Schedule of Events: FREE Juniors Beach Volleyball Clinic:  Friday, June 14, 2013:  10:30 am – 2:30 pm (check in at 10

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Women In Business Event

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A free event sponsored by the Vail Valley Business Womens expo this Wednesday.  It is free (for men and women) and open to the public. Over 40 booths are expected, as businesses showcase their products and services  to the public

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Meet our Golf DJs

Ben Welsh & Steve Barber from Eagle Vail Golf course are KZYR's Last DJs

Meet today’s Last DJs on the KZYR the Zephyr Steve Barber – Eagle Vail Course Superintendent How long have you been the Valley? 11 Years Hometown? Louisville, KY Favorite Golf Course outside of the Vail Valley? Crooked Stick Carmel, IN

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Is the Tap Room Closing?

The Tap room in Vail May be closing

The social media world has been a buzz with the rumor that Vail’s storied Tap Room is closing yet no one knows for sure. So we did what anyone would do.  We called over there to find out and well

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Jim James, Black Crowes At Telluride

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the 20th anniversary of the Telluride Blues & Brews promises to be monumental. The announcement of Jim James, Melissa Etheridge and the Black Crowes has b people stirring already. Additional festival performances include Gary Clark Jr., John Hiatt, Mickey Hart Band,

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VVF Winter Games On Hiatus

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The third installment of Vail’s Winter Mountain Games will come during February of 2016 as the Vail Valley Foundation recently made the decision to place a two-year hiatus on the hosting of the celebration of winter mountain lifestyle and sport. 

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