Mona Lisas, Mad Hatters and Moi

Ok, so this is my all-time favorite (as if I could really pick a favorite).  And I’m not even a NYC fan.

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

Pure poetry.

Supposedly, Bernie’s lyrics were inspired by Ben E. King  (“There is a rose in Spanish Harlem”):

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

I guess I’ll have to listen to Ben E. King’s song one day.

IMHO, this is the quintessential Elton/Bernie collaboration:

  • Lyrics: Gorgeous, even raw at times, but that fits the theme
  • Vocals: EJ at his absolute best and purest
  • Orchestration: Simple, elegant (And Davy’s mandolin is especially alluring)

As a side note, I’ve only heard EJ perform this live in concert once (even though I’ve been to at least 20).  Of course, it was at a concert in NY.  I know he has to play the “Juke Box,” but I always love it when he includes some of his more obscure tunes in the set list.

Enjoy it as much as I do!

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Honky Château – 1972)