The mama pajama rolled out of 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 looked 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 in 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

Seein' me and Julio
Down by the schoolyard
Seein' me and Julio
Down by the schoolyard

Whoa, 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

Seein' me and Julio
Down by the schoolyard
Seein' me and Julio
Down by the schoolyard
Seein' me and Julio
Down by the schoolyard


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit, edited by Schlermie

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

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard song meanings
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71 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment

    I'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 08, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Ok its about a homosexual relationship of course back then it was against the law so he gets caught and his parents are mortified. rosie queen of corona is acually a nod to a street in the neighborhood where paul grew up, now the radical priest thing comes from the 70s when a real preist acually was in time mag because he condoned homosexual realtions so when he gets the boy released he is condoning the action and in turn gets media hype.

    brandybeeon August 01, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I'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
  • +1
    General Comment

    Rosie the QUEEN of Corona... queen being the key word if you're going to use the homosexual interpretation; most of you have probably heard it used as a name for a very obviously gay and often slightly feminine man. Rosie might be a flamingly gay friend or even an alternate identity of one of the boys.

    thelesserthreaton July 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I 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 Comment

    I 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 Comment

    Anyone else notice how when some songs appear to be about gay sex they can also be interrupted as being about Marijuana. Weed always saves the song from dirty gay sex. Is there anything it CAN'T do?

    harrykidon December 16, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    I know this is way off base, especially after reading Paul Simon's own comments about the lyrics, but my interpretation had always been:

    The singer in his youth comes from a white, privileged family, but he has an Hispanic friend from a family of less privilege. The crime committed is simply the fact that he is seen hanging out with his Hispanic friend. The lines about his mother spitting on the ground and getting taken to jail are an exaggerated sense of how his family and society feel about him associating with Julio.

    Schlermieon March 21, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I 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 Comment

    perhaps it's ethnic differences?

    punkrockchick217on November 16, 2004   Link

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