The mama pajama rolled out a bed
And she ran to the police station
When the papa found out he began to shout

And he started the investigation
It's against the law
It was against the law
What the mama saw
It was against the law.

The mama look down and spit on the ground
Every time my name gets mentioned
The papa said, "Oy, if I get that boy,
I'm gonna stick him the house of detention."
Well I'm on my way.
I don't know where I'm going
I'm on my way I'm taking my time
But I don't know where
Goodbye to Rosie the queen of Corona
See you, me and Julio
Down by the school yard
See you, me and Julio down by the school yard

In a couple of days they come and
Take me away
But the press let the story leak
And when the radical priest
Come to get me released
We was all on the cover of Newsweek

And I'm on my way
I don't know where I'm going
I'm on my way, I'm taking my time
But I don't know where
Goodbye to Rosie the queen of Corona
See you, me and Julio
Down by the school yard
See you me and Julio
Down by the school yard
See you me and Julio
Down by the school yard


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Me And Julio Down By The School Yard song meanings
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60 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI've always interpreted the song to be about political activism, i.e., that the character in the song was involved in some sort of undefined frowned-upon radical activities. The song is on Paul Simon's eponymous solo debut, which was released in 1970, so it's a likely time to write a song summing up the entrenched opposition to late-'60s/early-'70s political radicalism. Simon's repeated insistence that he doesn't know what "me and Julio" were doing is consistent with the view that the precise activities were undefined.

    I think that the other person in the song was "Julio" to reflect the era's changing racial makeup of Kew Gardens in Queens, where Simon grew up.
    sunshipballoonson November 21, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI take it the character singing the song had under age sex with mama and papa's daughter. Mama caught them ran to the police. When mama told papa he was enraged and wanted to take legal action against the singer of the song. Under aged sex is against the law and mama would spit on the ground when the boy's name gets mentioned and why papa wants to stick him in the house of detention (jail). The singer senses the law is after him so he decides to leave town, the "Well I'm on my way" piece. This kind of rounds out the first two stanzas. Goodbye Rosie, where Rosie may be the name of the girl he had sex with. The singer's reference to Rosie as a queen may be an inference to why he doesn't unbderstand what the big deal is and Rosie is a "queen", not to be messed with (Royal, pure, deserves respect not under aged sex) as a sarcastic goodbye as he gets out of town.

    I take the you, me, julio down by the schoolyard as another goodbye as Rosie the singer and Julio as they used to hang out together doing who knows what else together in the schoolyard. This will never be again as all the fuss the singer stirred up.

    A priest would not condone pre-marital sex much less under age sex so the reason for being called radical for coming to his defense and making the news magazines when the singer was eventually caught.

    And that pretty much rounds it out in my mind, despite Mr. Simon's statement he didn't really think it through when he wrote it was against the law what mama saw as to what exactly mama saw. I think he did and did not want to say as the upbeat, catchy song may have lost airplay as a result.

    roboboon November 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about a lot of things that seemed to be relevant to the time, but he sums them up by creating characters, and refers them to a well known story line - Romeo and Juliet.

    On a basic level, the writer is Romeo, Julio is Juliet, Rosie the Queen of Corona is Rosaline, and the Radical Priest is Friar Laurence. We know he is caught doing something bad, and we know he is "on his way" but he doesn't know where he's going - sounds a bit like exile. Romeo is exiled for murder, but I think that is irrelevant to this song. Paul has used this story to refer to other things that were relevant to him.

    Firstly, Julio is a boy's name. That suggests that he is talking about the illegality of homosexuality, and how society would not allow the chracter to be with his lover. The cheery nature of the music makes of mockery of this - possibly shows Paul's disgust at homophobia. Goodbye to Rosie? Well, Romeo forgets about Rosaline when he sees Juliet - the character leaves women, when he realises that he is gay. Corona is, from what I hear, an area in NYC, which draws familiarity with the modern city/world, where a woman was an appropriate partner for a man, not another man.
    hgrindrodon April 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI never got any homosexual indications from this song.

    I always thought that he and Julio were juvenile delinquents. It just reminds me of the cliche 50's kids hanging out down at the schoolyard.

    Mama and Papa are Rosie's parents. The singer is Rosie's boyfriend.

    He and Julio did what delinquents did in the 50's - got into trouble. He was sent to juvie because of it. He gets released from juvie by his neighborhood priest who defends him for wome reason, but he still has to leave because he can't go back to his old neighborhood (Rosie's parents are pretty mad.) He never really gets to say goodbye to his "Rosie, queen of Corona" but thinks about it on his way out of Dodge. (I'm on my way. I don't know where I'm going. I'm on my way. Taking my time but I don't know where. Say goodbye to Rosie, the Queen of Corona.)

    In light of some other stuff written here, as Rosie was the "Queen of Corona" which may refer to the neighborhood in NY, she might have been a local girl who was easy instead of his girlfriend. Either way, what he does with her gets him in trouble. I never thought Julio was part of whatever happened with Rosie because he doesn't end up in trouble with the singer.
    EnochRoot1on September 24, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always thought that the song was about two schoolboys sexually experimenting with each other. It seems almost obvious to me that's what it's about. But I'm sure everyone else sees their own interpretation as being obvious as well...
    Groonon November 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentVery thorough discussion of this song and its meaning at:

    medialab.chalmers.se/guitar/…

    bakerton April 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always feel like what they saw was someonthing sexual. Maybe it's about homosexuality in a time and place where it was an extreme taboo? In some way I don't need to know what happened to really love this song.
    soapyon November 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentperhaps it's ethnic differences?
    punkrockchick217on November 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti believe it is just "see me and julio" not "see, you, me and julio"

    i always thought this was a song about a homosexual relationship, that the writer's parents figured out about, so they send him away.

    i also thought maybe it could be that the writer is white and julio isnt, and maybe they are friends, so that causes him to be sent away.
    getjeton January 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthomosexuality sounds more paul simonian
    rationalevilon January 23, 2005   Link

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