Mother’s Day Mixtape: Listeners share musical memories of their moms

A trio of WDET listeners share their touching stories about how music brought them closer to their mothers.

Courtesy of Alejandro “Alix” Lemus

Alejandro “Alix” Lemus doesn’t have any memories of his parents together.

He was too young to remember before they separated and later divorced.

But when his mom Regina would incorrectly sing the lyrics to the Bee Gees’ “More Than A Woman” from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, he could imagine a time when his parents were happily together — with his father regularly mixing up the words to the chorus and his mother gently correcting him.

“Every time I hear the song, I sing ‘nobody woman’ and laugh out loud,” says Lemus.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story alongside the song “More Than A Woman” by the Bee Gees.

“Music & my mother were my two closest allies in the world”

Courtesy of Mike Himes

As a teenager during Christmas of 1974, Mike Himes found refuge from a hectic family life in an Elton John record he got as a gift from his mom.

“My mom was trying to keep everything together, but her relationship with my father was falling apart,” recalls Himes. “She took the time to sit there and sing together. There was an emotional bond there.”

His mother Joan passed away in 1985, but Himes says the song “I’ve Seen The Saucers” by Elton John takes him back to that memory of her.

“I feel like we’re still singing that song together whenever I hear it,” says Himes.

Music would become a professional interest for Himes, too. For over 25 years, he owned the record store Record Time with locations in Ferndale and Roseville.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story alongside the song “I’ve Seen The Saucers” by Elton John.

A strong single mother with Blondie’s Greatest Hits stuck in the cassette player

Courtesy of Zoe Villegas

When Zoe Villegas was 6-years-old, she and her sisters would pile into her mom’s beat-up Dodge Monaco for a trip to a car wash on Michigan Avenue.

The only cassette the old family car would play was a Blondie greatest hits compilation on cassette featuring “Heart of Glass.”

“I have such a deep attachment to that song because it so encapsulates growing up with a single mother,” says Villegas. “I can think of getting off of school and going into the car wash and the way the men would respond to my mother. Her charisma was such a defining feature of her.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full story alongside the song “Heart of Glass” by Blondie.




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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.