"Mama" was the first single from Genesis' 1983 self-titled album (often referred to as the "shapes album" or simply The Mama Album, after the first track). Instantly recognizable from its harsh drum machine introduction composed by Mike Rutherford, which leads into minimalist synthesizer lines in minor keys and finally Phil Collins' reverb-laden voice, "Mama" serves notice that the album which follows will be considerably darker than previous efforts. It remains the band's biggest commercial success in the UK, reaching #4 on the UK Singles Chart. It also made the top 10 in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands. It was less popular in the US, only reaching #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The track also has a powerful final verse punctuated with a live drum kit (modified with the trademark "gated reverb" effect), comparable to Collins' earlier solo recording "In the Air Tonight".
The song has resurfaced in 2007 as part of the Turn It On Again tour, albeit transposed down a tone to account for the deepening of Phil Collins' voice as he grew older.
B-side: "It's Gonna Get Better" Released: 22 August 1983 Recorded: The Farm, Surrey; 1983 Genre: Progressive rock Label: Atlantic, Virgin, Vertigo Writer(s): Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford Producer(s): Genesis, Hugh Padgham