Friday, November 28, 2008

You and Julio

One thing I mean to do one of these days is pick up the new hardbound collection of Paul Simon lyrics (and I mean "pick up" literally - I will open it up at a bookstore and check out my concerns but it is wholly unlikely that I would actually buy it) and read the official lyrics to "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." I have always heard the crucial line in the chorus as "See me and Julio down by the schoolyard," but recently, on several unofficial lyrics site, I've seen the line presented as "See you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard."

Now, it's true that Paul says something like "See-ya me and Julio down by the schoolyard," but I always thought the interpolated syllable was just a little singer's trick, a way to separate the "see" and the "me," much as in the Platters' "Only You." But arguing against it, I get:

* At no other point in the song does Simon slip into the second person.
* The song is called "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," not "You, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."
* "You, me and Julio" isn't very idiomatic; "me, you and Julio" would be the more common phrasing.
* The "you" is never enunciated clearly at all, not even once.

(As an aside, "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" is one of only two songs I can think of with a whistling solo, the other being "Dock of the Bay." Am I missing any?)

Simon made a video for the song on the occasion of one of his greatest-hits packages in the 1980s, rather bizarrely featuring Mickey Mantle and John Madden, among others. Inexplicably, Mantle, who was of course a switch-hitter, bats lefthanded against the southpaw Simon in their stickball showdown, adding to the surreality. Check it out:


Kinky Paprika said...

There's a Guns n' Roses song with prominent whistling -- "Civil War," I think.
I'm not sure it's a solo per se, but I don't think it's just following the melody either.
(I would have to listen to the album to refresh myself, and I'm in no hurry to do that.)

I think McCartney's "Ram On" features a whistled solo as well --probably b/c, without George Martin to lean on, he couldn't arrange an interlude for horns.

T. Nawrocki said...

You're thinking of G'nR's "Patience." As I recall, it's the intro that's whistled, but I think it could count as a solo.

I'm not familiar with that McCartney song, but I do know that Paul played a kazoo solo on Ringo's "You're Sixteen."

Kinky Paprika said...

Yes! "Patience." That's it.

The McCartney song is noteworthy only as the more-or-less title track of the "Ram" album.
It's a weird jam based almost entirely on ukulele and heavily echoed electric piano.

J. Geils' "Centerfold" fades on whistling, but it's always sounded to me like it was synthesized or sampled. Somehow it just doesn't sound to me like real air passing through real lips.

MJN said...

I have always heard "Seein' me and Julio," for whatever that's worth.

There's plenty of whistling in Billy Joel's "The Stranger." I'm not sure if you'd consider it a solo.

MJN said...

If it's whistling you're looking for, check out "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John. I can't believe I didn't think of it yesterday.

Mark Lerner said...

John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" has a lovely whistling solo.

Joe said...

An awful lot of Andrew Bird songs have whistling solos. That dude loves to whistle.

Mark Lerner said...

As a practical consideration, though, whistling solos are really hard to pull off live. We have one in a song my band performs, and even with 3 of us whistling at the same time, I'm pretty sure no one hears a thing, and they just see 3 guys looking dorky with their lips puckered.

Gavin said...

Yeah, Peter Bjorn and John whistled the "Young Folks" solo on the record, but don't even attempt it live.

I recently read an interview with Simon about the "Julio" video (unfortunately, where eludes me). Mantle's appearance hinged on getting ten thousand dollars in a brown paper bag, if memory serves.