Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
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|"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"|
|Single by Paul Simon|
|from the album Paul Simon|
|A-side||"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"|
|Format||7" (45 rpm)|
|Genre||Soft rock, Adult contemporary|
|Producer||Paul Simon & Roy Halee|
|Paul Simon singles chronology|
Lyrical subject 
The song is about at least one boy and "Julio" who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song and has become a matter of some debate. When "the mama pajama" finds out what they have done, she goes to the police station to report the crime. The individuals are later arrested, but released when a radical priest intervenes. The protagonist of the song had to say goodbye to "Rosie, the Queen of Corona".
The song can easily be interpreted as a playful, lighthearted sexual and sociopolitical satire which takes place in the neighborhood of Corona, Queens, not far from where Paul Simon was raised. The "mama pajama" (a then-current slang term for a Welfare mother) is so upset at seeing the protagonist engaged in a sexual act, that she is motivated to "roll" out of bed and "run" (not walk) to the nearest police station. An almost farcical situation unfolds when the radical priest intervenes and the individuals achieve nationwide publicity when their photo appears on the cover of Newsweek.
In a July 20, 1972 interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Landau asked: "What is it that the mama saw? The whole world wants to know." Simon replied "I have no idea what it is... Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say 'something', I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn't make any difference to me." This implies that Paul Simon left the crime up to the imagination of the listener, allowing each person who listens to the song to draw their own conclusion from their own thoughts and experiences. This has not stopped speculation on a definite interpretation: commentators have detected references to recreational drug use, and believe that the mother saw the boy buying drugs. More recently, in October 2010, Simon described the song as "a bit of inscrutable doggerel."
The unique percussion sound in the song was created with a Cuica, a Brazilian friction drum instrument often used in Samba music.
In 1988, Simon released a video for the song to promote his greatest hits compilation Negotiations and Love Songs. The video filmed in Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan at the Mathews Palmer Playground (between 45-46th street / between 9th and 10th avenue) features an introduction by hip hop emcees (and then-fellow Warner Bros. Records label mates) Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie. The video depicts adults interacting with the youth of an inner-city schoolyard. It shows Simon playing basketball and baseball with the children, and it also features basketball player Spud Webb, baseball legend Mickey Mantle, and football coach-commentator John Madden giving tips to young athletes.
Performances by other artists 
- Simon and Garfunkel performed the song as a duet during their 1981 Concert in Central Park; this version also appears on the live album of the concert.
- The punk rock cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covered "Me and Julio" on their 1997 album, Have a Ball.
- Jack Johnson also covered this song in a medley following the song "Sexy Plexi", available on the J.O.T.C. bootleg compilation.
- Dave Matthews Band covered the song live a handful of times in 1992, 1993, and 2001.
- Wheat quotes "Me and Julio" in their song "Body Talk (Part 2)".
- In 2003, the band !!! released a single called "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard", a play on the title of this song, referring to Rudolph Giuliani.
- Other artists who have performed this song live include Pat McGee Band, Julie Doiron, and Peter Bjorn and John during a session for Morning Becomes Eclectic.
- New York singer/songwriter Jesse Malin covered this song on his April 7, 2008 covers album On Your Sleeve.
- A version of the song was included on a compilation of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra titled "Greatest Hits of the '70s".
In popular culture 
The song appears in a montage in the 2001 movie The Royal Tenenbaums directed by filmmaker Wes Anderson. It also appears in the film A Home at the End of the World, over the opening credits of Maid in Manhattan, The Simpsons episode "Holidays of Future Passed", within The Muppets, and during the opening credits in Real Women Have Curves.
The song plays in the second episode of Saturday Night Live, during a Weekend Update segment where Simon plays basketball.