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162 Ways to Make Your Mama Cry

April 22, 2015

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Nine years ago I decided that I would make my mom a little slideshow of photos set to music for Mother’s Day. It was a lot of work. I had to find songs (that were appropriate to play while the pretty little faces of her grandchildren graced the screen), learn a new computer program to put it all together, and get photos from my siblings. But it was well worth it, because she laughed and cried through the whole thing. Then she played it on continuous loop for about three days. After that she carried it around in her purse for two months, and popped it into the DVD player of anyone willing watch it with her (I’m not making this up).

It was truly one of her most treasured posessions. So I have done it every year since. Actually, I missed one year when I was pregnant and very sick and exhausted. I simply couldn’t make myself sit down and put it together. I found out later that she had cried after I left her house that Mother’s Day because it wasn’t there. I have since put that year together and gave it to her late. It may take me a while, but I learn eventually.

The second year I made the video, I realized that one of the hardest things about it is to find the songs. I now spend all year listening for songs that might be appropriate. A lot of my songs are from commercials or the background music in shows or movies (shazam is my best friend). I also use and google. Sometimes I have to edit out parts of songs that are mainly great, but have a section here or there that just doesn’t work (I can guarantee my mom doesn’t want to see a photo of her two-year-old granddaughter while the lyrics, “she smokes pot every day,” are playing). So, here is a list of 162 of my favorite slideshow songs (just keep in mind that you should listen to them entirely first or google they lyrics so you can know if there’s something you might want to edit out).

And if you’re interested in making your own slideshow, I have some tips for you at the end of the post.

  1. “All I Know” by Five for Fighting
  2. “All Smiles” by Jess Penner
  3. “All the Pennies” by Mindy Gledhill
  4. “Back Home” by Andy Grammer
  5. “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson
  6. “Beautiful Baby” by Ryan Innes
  7. “A Beautiful Day” by India.Arie
  8. “Beautiful Day” by Josh Radin (feat. Sheryl Crow)
  9. “Beautiful Inside” by Katie Herzig
  10. “Beautiful Life” by Fisher
  11. “A Beautiful World” by Tim Myers
  12. “Beauty in the World” by Macy Gray
  13. “Before I Knew” by Basia Bulat
  14. “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
  15. “Best Days” by Eric Hutchison
  16. “Bicycle” by Frances England
  17. “Bicycle Race” by Queen
  18. “Blessed” by Brett Dennen
  19. “Brand New Day” by Tim Myers (feat. Lindsey Ray)
  20. “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
  21. “Bright Whites” by Kishi Bashi
  22. “Brighter than the Sun” by Colbie Caillat
  23. “Cliffs of Dover” by Tamas Szekeres
  24. “Colorful World” by Shayna Rose
  25. “Colors” by Kira Willey
  26. “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars
  27. “Count on Me” by Mat Kearney
  28. “Crazy Beautiful” by Andy Grammer
  29. “Daddy-O” by Frances England
  30. “Doesn’t Get Better than This” by Joy Williams
  31. “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn
  32. “Emmy Lou” by First Aid Kit
  33. “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson
  34. “Everyday” by Carly Commando   *instrumental
  35. “Fall for You” by Holley Maher
  36. “Family Tree” by Frances England
  37. “Feel this Moment” by Pitbull (feat. Christina Aguilera)
  38. “First Day of my Life” by David Hodges
  39. “First Day of my Life” by Lisa Loeb
  40. “Forever” by Ben Harper
  41. “Fun in the Sun” by Steve Harwell
  42. “Future History” by Lightning
  43. “Golden” by Holley Maher
  44. “Good Day Sunshine” by the Tremeloes
  45. “The Good Life” by Tim Myers
  46. “Grandma’s Feather Bed” by John Denver
  47. “Grumpy” by Music for Aardvarks
  48. “Hall of Fame” by The Script (feat.
  49. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  50. “Happy Everafter in Your Eyes” by Ben Harper
  51. “Happy Place” by Oh, Hush! (feat. Hanna Ashbrook)
  52. “Happy Together” by The Turtles
  53. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
  54. “Hey Mama” by Mat Kearney
  55. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
  56. “Ho Hey” by Nashville Cast (feat. Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella)
  57. “Home” by Phillip Phillips
  58. “I Bet My Life” by Imagine Dragons
  59. “I Bet My Life (ukelele version)” by The Ukelele Boys
  60. “I Feel Happy” by Super Preachers
  61. “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas
  62. “I Lived” by One Republic
  63. “I Was Made for Sunny Days” by the Weepies
  64. “I Was Made for You” by She & HIm
  65. “I Will Live on Islands” by John Rouse
  66. “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
  67. “I’ll Follow the Sun” by The Beatles
  68. “I’m in Love” by Meiko
  69. “It Snowed” by Meaghan Smith
  70. “Jungle Gym” by Jack Johnson (feat. G. Love)
  71. “Kick Drum Heart” by The Avett Brothers
  72. “L.O.V.E.” by V.V. Brown
  73. “Ladybug Picnic” by Elizabeth Mitchell
  74. “Lazy Afternoon” by Nora and One Left
  75. “Life in Technicolor” by Coldplay   *instrumental
  76. “Life is Beautiful” by ‘Keb ‘Mo
  77. “Life is Better With You” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  78. “Lit From Underneath” by Andrew Bird   *instrumental
  79. “A Little Love” by Meaghan Smith
  80. “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas
  81. “The Long Way Home” by Norah Jones
  82. “The Look of Love” by Joy Williams (feat. Tim Myers)
  83. “Love” by Matt White
  84. “Love” by Steven Mudd (feat. Amy Kuney)
  85. “Love is Endless” by Mozella
  86. “Love Me Tender” by Adam Levy & Norah Jones
  87. “Love Somebody” by Schuyler Fisk
  88. “Loving You Tonight” by Andrew Allen
  89. “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds
  90. “Lucky” by Kat Edmonson
  91. “Lucky” by Jason Mraz (feat. Colbie Caillat)
  92. “The Lucky Ones” by Tim Myers
  93. “Lullaby” by Jack Jackson (feat. Matt Costa)
  94. “Made For Each Other” by Emilie Mover
  95. “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban
  96. “Mermaid” by Francois-Paul Aiche & H. Scott Salinas   *instrumental
  97. “The Morning Sun” by Nora and One Left
  98. “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills   *instrumental
  99. “My Girl” by The Temptations
  100. “My Old Heart” by Anders Osborne
  101. “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts
  102. “Never Quit Loving You” by Jill Barber
  103. “New Soul” by Yael Naim
  104. “Odyssey” by The Wyld   *instrumental
  105. “One Day, Two Day, Three Days Old” by Elizabeth Mitchell
  106. “The Only Place” by Best Coast
  107. “Ordinary Miracle” by Sarah McLachlan
  108. “Pirates” by Francois-Paul Aiche & H. Scott Salinas   *instrumental
  109. “Praan” by Garry Schyman   *instrumental
  110. “Rhytym of Love” by Plain White T’s
  111. “Rock & Roll” by Eric Hutchinson
  112. “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  113. “Sea of Love” by Cat Power
  114. “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”
  115. “See the Sun” by The Kooks
  116. “She Follows the Sun” by AM 60
  117. “She’s Mine” by Brett Dennen
  118. “Shine On” by Eric Bibb
  119. “The Show” by Lenka
  120. “Simply Wonderful” by Tim Myers
  121. “Snails” by The Format
  122. “Sometimes” by Frances England
  123. “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane
  124. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  125. “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  126. “Stay Here Forever” by Jewel
  127. “Steal My Kisses” by Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
  128. “Stuck On You” by Meiko
  129. “Summer” by India.Arie
  130. “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” by Lesley Gore
  131. “Surfer Mama” by Kira Willey
  132. “Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys
  133. “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee
  134. “Sweet Sweet Baby” by Michelle Featherstone
  135. “Technicolor” by Tim Myers
  136. “Tell the World” by Eric Hutchinson
  137. “These Are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs
  138. “Thirty Reasons” by Octoberman
  139. “This is Home” by Switchfoot
  140. “This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies
  141. “Three Little Birds” by Sean Na’auao (or Bob Marley)
  142. “To Have and To Hold” by Colin Hay
  143. “To Make You Feel My Love” by Mick McAuley & Winifred Horan
  144. “Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae
  145. “Tout Doucement” by Feist
  146. “Trouble” by Pink
  147. “Two Year Old Attitude” by Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband
  148. “We Are Young” by Fun (feat. Janelle Monae)
  149. “We Own the Night” by The Wanted
  150. “We’re Going To Be Friends” by Jack Johnson
  151. “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  152. “Whole Wide World” by Mindy Gledhill
  153. “With My Own Two Hands” by Jack Johnson (feat. Ben Harper)
  154. “The World is a Wonderful Place” by Nora and One Left
  155. “You Always Make Me Smile” by Kyle Andrews
  156. “You and Me” by Sara Watkins
  157. “You Are My Sunshine” by Stine J
  158. “You Make Me Happy” by Lindsey Ray
  159. “You Wear Flowers” by Peter Breinholt
  160. “Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky   *instrumental
  161. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman & Lyle Lovett
  162. “1234” by Feist

Over the years I have learned some tricks.

1. Gather Photos

If you’re just doing your only family, then you just need to go through your photos for the year and pick your favorites. If you’re gathering photos from other people, my advice is to start early. I usually send my first email out to my siblings in February. Then I bug them every few weeks until I get their photos. This is getting easier with the cloud, because people can just upload to the cloud (throughout the year, or at the end of the year).

2. Sort The Photos and Look for Trends

Our family has increased greatly in size. That first Mother’s Day my parents had six grandchildren. This year they have eighteen. When I first started doing the slideshow I would painstakingly sit and make sure that each child was represented equally. That is no longer possible. One of the things I have done to make it easier is to divide the slideshow into sections. It makes it so much easier for me to sort the photos (usually upwards of 2,000), and choose the songs that will go with them. I start with a happy, upbeat song that showcases some of the highlights of the year for each family. Then I do one or two songs of everyone waterskiing and surfing together in the summer. I move on to a song (or two) that includes all of the photos with cousins together, or cousins with grandma and grandpa. I always include a song that highlights the kids’ achievements over the year (a special dance performance, winning an award, whatever). Finally, I may throw in a song for something special that happened that year or a song that goes with a trend I saw in the photos. One year I randomly got a photo of almost every family jumping on the bed in a hotel room, so I put them all together to the song “Trouble”, Another year I got a lot of pictures of children being read to by their parents or grandparents, and we also had three people in our family graduate from college. I put all of those together with an instrumental song and interspersed famous quotes about reading and learning.

3. Leave Some Space

I have a sibling (they shall remain anonymous) who is always very last minute about getting photos to me. I used to be finishing up, and then I would get photos from said sibling. I would have to squish them in and they would mess everything up and then I’d spend hours rearranging and retiming it all. Now I just put some dummy spots in the slideshow so that when I get those last minute entries it doesn’t destroy all my work.

I hope you find this a help for your music and slideshow needs!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathi Athey permalink
    April 23, 2015 1:00 pm

    Thanks, Lisa, for the tips! I like to do photo books. I haven’t really attempted slide shows although Chuck and I have done some together. And, yes, it always makes us laugh and cry to view those but we appreciate the time and talent it takes!

  2. angela miller permalink
    April 24, 2015 9:37 am

    You are SO awesome! You didn’t leave a button where we can “Press Here” for us to hire you to just make one FOR us! 🙂

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