One of Paul Simon‘s first hits after his split from Art Garfunkel was the uptempo song “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard.” Almost everyone is familiar with the tune and it’s been recorded by ten different artists (and appeared on 28 different albums).
But have you ever stopped to wonder what the protagonist and Julio were actually doing down by the schoolyard? Everyone has always assumed that “What momma saw” was a drug deal.
However, that long-held theory has recently been debunked, by Paul Simon himself, in a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine. “I have no idea what it is,” said Simon. “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.”
It’s the eternal “Catch-22” of music lyrics. Some artists pain over the nuance and message of their sung words, others just stick words and phrases together because they sound good. Regardless, every song ends up being interpreted by individual listeners.
Who’s to say who’s right or wrong?