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
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
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.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower