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
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power