The GENESIS single "Mama" was released 40 years ago

    • Official Post

    40 years ago today, GENESIS released their single "Mama", which became a big hit in Europe and a fan-favorite.


    Who bought the single back in 1983? What were your impressions when you first heard the track?


    cheers

    Christian


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  • I bought the 12 inch at the time. I was very excited by it, and very optimistic about the future release.


    I thought it sounded amazing, and of course it still does. Perhaps I've just heard it too many times.


    I had a friend at the time who liked alternative music and hated Genesis. Even he thought this was a great track.


    Unfortunately as far as I'm concerned, it was a false dawn, as the album is comfortably the band's worst ever release (apart from FGTR). It felt (feels) like a missed opportunity to me.


    They did alright out of it though, so maybe I'm talking nonsense!

  • One of the very best from any era, everybody performing superbly. A tour de force live as well with one of my favourite live endings with whatever chord that is Tony holds down a perfect finale. No wonder it did for Phil’s voice.

    Any band would be proud of this one

  • Their best song as a three piece as far as I am concerned, certainly in terms of single material. I bought the album, not the single, and had mixed feelings at the time. Mama was/is the best track by far, but the rest didn't do much for me except Second Home. That's All was pithy, Home By The Sea just droned on for too long and side 2 was B Grade material which promised more than it delivered. It was almost like they put everything into Mama and then were scratching around for ideas.


    Genius song though. If there was more of that level of creativity during the three piece period, I would have been happier. It's not that they didn't produce good material, they absolutely did, but Mama was one of the few standout moments which equalled those as a 4 and 5 piece.

  • Unfortunately as far as I'm concerned, it was a false dawn, as the album is comfortably the band's worst ever release (apart from FGTR). It felt (feels) like a missed opportunity to me.


    They did alright out of it though, so maybe I'm talking nonsense!

    No, you're not talking nonsense. I bought the single, liked it and the B-side, then bought the album, and discovered that what I already owned was "The Best of Shapes"! Everything else on there is poor, some of it turgid lazy pap like That's All and Taking It All Too Hard, which paved the way for further junk like "Throwing It All Away" which would have fitted on Shapes perfectly, then there's Home By the Sea 1+2, which try to be prog, but fail by being over-simplistic, guitar-free (if only they'd had access to a decent guitarist!) and over-reliant on Tony being able to come up with something interesting on keyboards, which he kills by using typical 80's keyboard sounds, just like everyone else. Illegal Alien was the only other promising bit, but the dumb vocal delivery ruined that.


    It was the last Genesis album I bought, I taped IT off a friends copy, and discovered it was more or less Shapes again. More dull songs, more failed prog, and not even a Mama or a Gonna Get Better to lift it.


    "They did alright out of it though" Yeah, cos a recording of Phil farting would've charted at the time, which explains much of the success post-Mama!

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • No, you're not talking nonsense. I bought the single, liked it and the B-side, then bought the album, and discovered that what I already owned was "The Best of Shapes"! Everything else on there is poor, some of it turgid lazy pap like That's All and Taking It All Too Hard, which paved the way for further junk like "Throwing It All Away" which would have fitted on Shapes perfectly, then there's Home By the Sea 1+2, which try to be prog, but fail by being over-simplistic, guitar-free (if only they'd had access to a decent guitarist!) and over-reliant on Tony being able to come up with something interesting on keyboards, which he kills by using typical 80's keyboard sounds, just like everyone else. Illegal Alien was the only other promising bit, but the dumb vocal delivery ruined that.


    It was the last Genesis album I bought, I taped IT off a friends copy, and discovered it was more or less Shapes again. More dull songs, more failed prog, and not even a Mama or a Gonna Get Better to lift it.


    "They did alright out of it though" Yeah, cos a recording of Phil farting would've charted at the time, which explains much of the success post-Mama!

    Loved that! So on the same page

  • I don't think I bought the single. I remember seeing it premiered on Top Of The Pops and instantly liking it. I particularly liked the murky, swampy feel of it and the steamy chugging drum machine which really stood out, the held-back chord and the low bass drone. I still love all those elements and the track as a whole.


    It could be brilliantly atmospheric on stage where they also made the good decision to cut the final verse which I felt overstretched the song.


    For me it's a classic rock song but beyond the core fan base it'll never be widely seen as such, though it deserves to be.

    Abandon all reason

  • I bought the 12" single just to have the long versions of "Mama" and "It's Gonna Get Better" that were not on the album. (As I'm sure I've mentioned countless times, I don't bother with the shortened album versions at all.) The first time I heard "Mama" on the radio it was the long version, and the DJ specifically commented on how the new Genesis song was over 7 minutes long.


    I vaguely recall thinking the "ha-ha" part was kind of weird, but in general my tendency was to accept music the way it was without giving much thought to its stylistic features, etc.

    Little known fact: Before the crowbar was invented...


    ...crows simply drank at home.

  • In '83 I don't have the lyrics:


    Can't you feel my heart?
    Now listen to me, mama
    Mama, mama
    You're taking away my last chance!
    Don't take it away
    Can't you feel my heart?


    I traslate: "They're taking away my last chance".


    In Italy, it's easy misunderstanding english word Mama with italian Mamma (mom). :(

  • In Italy, it's easy misunderstanding english word Mama with italian Mamma (mom).

    I get that, and mama means 'mother' in English too. It's more about not taking the word literally to mean motherin this song. His wanting to touch and feel her, and that he thinks she taunts and teases him, give a clue that this isn't about a mother-son relationship - or if it were, it'd be a very unusual and alarming one.

    Abandon all reason

  • It's the old use (maybe only in English?) of "mama" to mean a girlfriend, lover, etc. It also shows up in "Many Too Many."

    Little known fact: Before the crowbar was invented...


    ...crows simply drank at home.

  • It's the old use (maybe only in English?) of "mama" to mean a girlfriend, lover, etc. It also shows up in "Many Too Many."

    If the usage is so 'old' why does it permeate so many popular songs, e.g. Led Zeppelin's Black Dog 'hey hey mama said the way you move' etc.


    I have never understood why the words for family, i.e. 'mama', 'daddy' and the ubiquitous 'baby' are used as terms of endearment in pop or blues songs.