And now I know
Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say
I thought I knew
But now I know that rose trees never grow
In New York City

Until you've seen this trash can dream come true
You stand at the edge while people run you through
And I thank the Lord
There's people out there like you
I thank the Lord there's people out there like you

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light

This Broadway's got
It's got a lot of songs to sing
If I knew the tunes I might join in
I'll go my way alone
Grow my own, my own seeds shall be sown, in New York City

Subway's no way for a good man to go down
Rich man can ride and the hobo he can drown
And I thank the Lord for the people I have found
I thank the Lord for the people I have found

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light

And now I know
Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say
I thought I knew
But now I know that rose trees never grow
In New York City

Subway's no way for a good man to go down
Rich man can ride and the hobo he can drown
And I thank the Lord for the people I have found
I thank the Lord for the people I have found

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light
They know not if it's dark outside or light


Lyrics submitted by x_nikole_x, edited by kjtvc2012, martin1109

"Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" as written by Elton John Bernie Taupin

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters song meanings
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54 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentI think this song is about realizing that life isn't always beautiful, but that the people who enter you life (who you found) are.
    KathleenSceneon March 10, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis could be Eltons most underrated song he has ever written. It is just beautyful
    barbaro316on June 05, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThe unfriendliness of the city is brutal, but defining yourself in it--that's beautiful.
    PokeyLittlePuppyon July 16, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe first verse to me referrs to The Song "Spanish Harlem" - "There is a rose in Spanish Harlem". It's about how his views of New York were shaped by songs, versus reality. There are no Rose Tree in Spanish Harlem.
    IndiaEdwardson September 22, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this a song of realization, specifically the brutal reality of New York or any major city. The realization of the fact that people are overrun by the power of money and selfishness. I feel that the rose trees are symbolic for the growing of relationships, which would explain "I thank they Lord there's people out there like you" showing the appreciation for whomever he speaks of. I think the chorus shows what these people are missing, "turn around and say good morning to the night" shows how these people are letting life pass them by, and "for unless they see the sky, but they can't and that is why, they know not if it's dark outside or light" shows that they don't even know what they're missing. And the major point of what they are missing is the rose trees, friends, lovers, whatever Taupin means by the rose trees. Then finally the last verse just solidifies everything by talking about the rich man riding the subway and the hobo being left behind, shows the lack of compassion these mona lisas and mad hatters have. But the people (or rose trees) that "I have found" are not like that, and "I thank the Lord." Little lengthy, but I wanted to get everything across.
    ECisGodon July 24, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI especially like the line "You stand at the edge and people run you through." It sums up the hectic movement of people in any big city, expecially New York. No one has time for anyone else because they are all going about their own business. People do literally pass through you on a busy city street!
    Erneston June 21, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about how despite the fact that all your fantasies and visions of a place (new york in this case) can be wrong, the world is still a magical place to be in its own way.
    sammo_10101on August 11, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAbsolutely one of his best!

    It seems to me the Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters are the pretty faces and shallow eccentric people born to better fortune. To them life is a party (good morning to the night) and they really can't relate to the average person (...dont know if it's dark outside or light...").

    Bernie is saying that they have entered this world (...trash can dreams come true...). The people they encounter can't see the needs (sky) in life and have the big dreams of making their own way. They are too into their own privelege and enjoying it and not caring about people killed in the subway or the hobo who drowns.

    IMHO
    BoyBlueon March 23, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAlso, the Spanish Harlem and Rose Tree lyrics in this song is more than likely a reference to the song "Spanish Harlem" by Ben E. King and also song by Aretha Franklin
    bsuedekumon August 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti really like the line "I'll go my way alone
    Grow my own, my own seeds shall be sown in New York City" ... earlier he talks about how rose trees don't grow there, so instead he's doing his own thing and trying to improve the world in his own way. but does ne1 know what hes talking about with the 'mona lisas and mad hatters sons of bankers sons of lawyers" part?

    sexy80sbabeon September 12, 2002   Link

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