Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

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"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"
PAUL SIMON me and julio.jpg
Single by Paul Simon
from the album Paul Simon
B-side "Congratulations"
Released May 1972
Format 7"
Recorded 1971
Genre
Length 2:44
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s)
Paul Simon singles chronology
"Mother and Child Reunion"
(1972)
"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"
(1972)
"Duncan"
(1972)

"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the second single from his second self-titled studio album (1972), released on Columbia Records.

Lyrical subject[edit]

The song is about two boys ("Me and Julio") who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song. 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 meaning and references in the song have long provoked debate. 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 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.",[1] while the "radical priest" has been interpreted[by whom?] as a reference to Daniel Berrigan,[2] who featured on the cover of Time when the song was written.

The percussion sound in the song, unusual for American pop, was created with a Cuica, a Brazilian friction drum instrument often used in samba music.

Video[edit]

In 1988, Simon released a video for the song to promote his greatest hits compilation Negotiations and Love Songs. The video filmed at Halsey Junior High School, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City. This was the same neighborhood within which Simon grew up and met Art Garfunkel in high school. Many of the children featured in the video were from that same school.

It features an introduction by hip hop emcees (and then-fellow Warner Bros. Records label mates) Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie. Main Source member Large Professor also makes a minor cameo towards the end.[3] 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.

Personnel[edit]

Performances by other artists[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

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 film The Muppets, and during the opening credits in Real Women Have Curves.[citation needed]

Simon himself performed the song on Sesame Street,[4] along with a girl who backed him up singing "Dance dance dance all right/dance dance dance all right/Everybody dance," etc.

Canadian musician Sam Roberts performed a shortened version of the song on the Kids' CBC program Mamma Yamma, altering some of the lyrics to fit the scene he was in.[citation needed]

The song plays in the second episode of Saturday Night Live, during a Weekend Update segment where Simon plays basketball.[5]

Simon performed the song with Stephen Colbert on the September 11, 2015 episode of The Late Show.[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Simon, "Isn't It Rich", The New York Times Book Review, Oct. 31, 2010, p. 10.
  2. ^ Obituary of Berrigan with reference to Paul Simon's lyrics, New York Times 30 April 2016
  3. ^ "SEE, HEAR: Paul Simon ft. Biz Markie & Big Daddy Kane — "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard" Music Video (1988).". article. egotripland.com. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  4. ^ "Sesame Street: Paul Simon Sings Me & Julio". YouTube. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 
  5. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 
  6. ^ Rosenbaum, Marty (2015-09-14). "Stephen Colbert Brings Paul Simon "Tribute" Band Troubled Waters To Late Show [Watch] « WXRT". Wxrt.cbslocal.com. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  8. ^ "RPM100: Singles" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 17 (15). May 27, 1972. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Programmers' MOR Playlist" (PDF). RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 17 (16). June 3, 1972. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  11. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Paul Simon – Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 499. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  13. ^ "Paul Simon – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Paul Simon. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  14. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]