Mother of mine! It's her day, so why not serenade her?

Victoria Richards counts down the top 10 cheesy tributes to our mums – and, four decades on, catches up with the boy for whom Opportunity Knocked

With his cheeky Motherwell lilt, crooked grin and perfectly coiffed side parting, prepubescent child star Neil Reid had sons and daughters everywhere reaching for their tissues and into their pockets to propel his 1971 single, "Mother of Mine", to fame that would last a thousand Mother's Days.

The saccharine ode, first aired on the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks, shot to number two in the UK singles chart, had a headline spot on Top of the Pops and notched up almost a million sales in the UK and 4.5 million worldwide. Reid's self-titled album reached number one in the UK chart, making him – at 12 – the youngest person to reach the top spot.

Now, almost 40 years on, his song still stands head and shoulders above a swamp of nauseating tributes – crafted by musicians as diverse as Ronan Keating, Snoop Dogg and even The A-Team's Mr T – to the most important women in our lives: mums.

Dave McAleer, record historian for the Official Charts Company, said that Mother's Day is "the perfect excuse" for record companies to cash in on a recurring national period of weak-minded sentimentality. "The record industry looks on Mother's Day as a wonderful time to sell a lot more records, so the appeal of sappy songs is never going to die out," he said. "Snoop wasn't afraid to put it out there, but in this day and age, they do seem more out of place than ever. As for Neil Reid, are there really any mums out there who still love that sort of thing?"

Reid, now 50, disagrees. "I think context plays a huge part," he said. "At the time, I was at the leading edge of the teenybopper movement. You may think it wouldn't appeal to today's market, but it's not that different from the kids you see on Britain's Got Talent."

After almost 20 years in showbusiness and a stint as a financial adviser, life for the former child singer couldn't be more different. Reid now lives in Blackpool, where he works as a management consultant – and has even formed his own church.

"I look back and I think, 'I really enjoyed that'," he said. "But a friend once told me, 'Yesterday is dead and no one lives there any more'. And I don't live there any more either. I've moved on and done other things I'm just as proud of. It amazes me that the song still has legs today, 38 years later. It gets played every Mother's Day, though I never listen to it. I'm not embarrassed but my daughter would kill me!"

Reid said he has "no regrets" about getting involved with showbiz at such an early age, but chose to "get out – before it threw me out". "It probably would've all ended anyway," he said. "The business was changing markedly."

He then started looking at "other avenues" and, in January, set up Oasis Blackpool, a "progressive, 21st-century church". "The definition of a church in the Bible is a meeting of people anywhere – it doesn't have to be in an old building," he said. "I wanted our services to be more contemporary."

But one thing you won't find him doing is telling the congregation about the life he had in his early teens. "I would never, ever bring it up unless I was asked," he said. "That would be so sad, wouldn't it? A guy at a dinner party saying: 'I had a number one record that sold 4.5 million copies'. I don't want to be that guy."

So, was "Mother of Mine" really all that bad? Here are our top 10 toe-curling odes to mums. After a listen to some of these, you might be more than ready to forgive Neil Reid.

Top 10 odes to mother

10. Christina Aguilera, Oh Mother

The 'Dirrty' singer released the syrupy track 'Oh Mother' as a fourth single on her third studio album, Back to Basics, in 2006, which sold more than 300,000 copies in the UK. It was released as a digital download on 31 December 2007, but failed to chart in Britain, despite gaining impressive airplay.

9. Cyndi Lauper, I Want a Mom That Will Last Forever

'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' singer Lauper, 56, recorded the 'moving' melody 'I Want a Mom That Will Last Forever' – written by Mark Mothersbaugh, 59, co-founder of new wave punk band Devo – for the children's movie Rugrats in Paris in 2000, which grossed £68m in sales worldwide. Lauper, who has released 11 albums and more than 40 singles, is about to turn her hand to blues with a new album, due this spring.

8. Snoop Dogg, I Love My Momma

The smooth rap star's heartfelt 'I Love My Momma' is a bizarre contrast to the likes of his hit single 'Bitch Please', featuring Xzibit and Nate Dogg, or 'Ghetto Symphony' from his 1999 album No Limit Top Dogg. Grammy award-nominated MC Snoop, 38, must have wiped a tear from his eye when he wrote: 'My momma was my homey my daddy, and my best friend.'

7. Boyz II Men, A Song for Mama

The cloying R&B hit 'A Song for Mama' was picked as the theme song to the 1997 American movie Soul Food. It sold 24,000 copies in the UK, charting at 34, but was more successful in the US, spending two weeks at number one on the R&B chart. The lyrics include the lines: 'Mama, you're the queen of my heart, your love is like tears from the stars'. Nice!

6. Céline Dion, A Mother's Prayer

French-Canadian warbler Dion, 41, re-recorded and renamed the gushing 'A Prayer' – originally a duet with Andrea Bocelli – for her 2004 concept album Miracle, which celebrated 'the joy of babies'. It sold an impressive 110,000 copies in the UK.

5. Ronan Keating, This is your Song

The sentimental 'This Is Your Song' appeared on the Boyzone star's fifth studio album, Songs for My Mother, a tribute to his mother Marie, who died from breast cancer in 1998. The album sold more than 190,000 copies in the UK. Keating, 33, originally had no intention to record the song, but was persuaded to do so by his bandmates.

4. Mr T, Treat Your Mother Right (Treat Her Right)

Mr T – aka Laurence Tureaud, 57 – had already made his name as The A-Team's B A Baracus when he recorded a motivational video for children in 1984 entitled Be Somebody ... Or Be Somebody's Fool!. In addition to teaching kids how to make tripping up look like breakdancing, he sang the bizarre rap melody 'Treat Your Mother Right (Treat Her Right)', written by Ice-T.

3. Spice Girls, Mama

'Mama' was the fourth single on the debut album Spice by Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, Mel B and Mel C. Devised by Mel B to 'pay tribute' to the girls' mothers, it sold 600,000 copies in the UK. Posh, Baby, Ginger, Scary and Sporty can now be found, respectively, on the catwalk, judging Dancing on Ice, on the bookshelf, in the studio and on the stage.

2. Elvis Presley, Mama Liked the Roses

The distinctly non-festive track appeared, bizarrely, on a re-release of his Christmas Album in 1970. It was put out as a 'flip' to his top 10 single 'The Wonder of You'.

1. Neil Reid, Mother of Mine

Former child star Reid was discovered aged eight singing at a pensioners' party. Known as 'Wee Neil Reid', he won Opportunity Knocks in 1971 with the saccharine 'Mother of Mine', which reached number two in the UK singles chart and sold 4.5 million worldwide. Reid, 50, is now a management consultant and has even formed his own church.

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tv 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there