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The Meaning Behind The Song: You Got To Have A Mother For Me (Part 1) by James Brown

The Meaning Behind The Song: You Got To Have A Mother For Me (Part 1) by James Brown


James Brown, known as the “Godfather of Soul,” has left an indelible mark on the music industry with his powerful vocals, electrifying performances, and impactful lyrics. One of his lesser-known songs, “You Got To Have A Mother For Me (Part 1),” captures the essence of Brown’s unique style and showcases his unmatched ability to blend R&B, funk, and soul.

The Lyrics

The song begins with an energetic introduction, setting the stage for what is to come. Brown emphasizes the importance of having a strong, confident and assertive partner. He recognizes that different people have different preferences, but he personally likes someone who is “boss” and attracts attention with their presence. Brown asserts that to be with him, she has to be a “mother.”

In the second verse, Brown reflects on a time when he felt alone and lost. But someone recognized his potential and helped him find his way. He hints at using resilience and determination (“sav”) to overcome obstacles and emphasizes the importance of love in his life. He affirms that having a “mother” is essential for a fulfilling relationship.

The bridge of the song further emphasizes the impact a confident and captivating woman has on others. Brown acknowledges that when she walks, she garners attention, and the men cannot help but talk about her.

Moving into the third verse, Brown acknowledges that physical attributes, such as height, beauty, and physique, are not the only defining factors. He emphasizes that having a connection, a presence or a certain quality is equally important. He also encourages his partner to showcase her boss-like attitude while performing dance moves like the “Funky Four Corners” and the “Horse.” Brown assures her that he appreciates her individuality and will support her in expressing herself. Ultimately, he reiterates that she must be a “mother” for him.

The outro of the song highlights that while fashionable accessories like high-heeled sneakers and slip-in mules are admirable, what truly matters is how the woman carries herself. Her confidence and ability to captivate others through her movements are what truly make her special. Brown playfully acknowledges the presence of Maceo Parker, a renowned tenor saxophonist in his band.

Personal Reflection

As a longtime fan of James Brown, “You Got To Have A Mother For Me (Part 1)” has always resonated with me. The song showcases Brown’s unique ability to blend soulful melodies with empowering lyrics. Growing up, I was captivated by his electrifying performances and his unapologetic expression of self-confidence and authenticity.

Brown’s emphasis on the importance of having a partner who is confident and assertive resonates deeply with me. The song serves as a reminder to seek relationships that celebrate individuality, strength, and independence. It encourages us to embrace our authentic selves and to find partners who support and uplift us.

The infectious rhythm, incredible vocals, and profound lyrics of “You Got To Have A Mother For Me (Part 1)” make it one of James Brown’s hidden gems. While it may not have received as much mainstream recognition as some of his other hits, the song’s timeless message of embracing confidence and individuality remains just as relevant today.

Credits and Additional Information:

Produced By James Brown

Written By James Brown & Pee Wee Ellis

Arranger James Brown

Baritone Saxophone St. Claire Pinckney

Bass Charles Sherrell

Drums Clyde Stubblefield

Guitar Alfonzo Kellum & Jimmy Nolen

Tenor Saxophone Maceo Parker

Trombone Fred Wesley

Trumpet Richard Griffith & Waymon Reed

Label King Records & Polydor Records

Release Date 1969

Songs That Sample You Got To Have A Mother For Me (Part 1) Gett Off by Prince and the New Power Generation

View You Got To Have A Mother For Me (Part 1) samples



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