Ballads are the 'Bread and Butter' of the Auditory Arts, Especially this One: "Mona Lisas and Madhatters" | Eastern North Carolina Now | "Mona Lisas and Madhatters", from Elton John's Honky Château, was that special ballad of heart wrenching sincerity, forever etched on the collective soul of generation, which saved a lyrical moment in time, and became a gift to so many.

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    Publisher's note: I have initiated this new segment on BCN, where I determine the Best Music Ever. I do this from my opinion, for what that is worth, where I will measure the best music that I am familiar with.

    I do this for two reasons: 1) I want to expose the best music that I know to the rest of us. 2) Popular Music today may be the very worst it has ever been, and that is saying much, since I lived through Disco.

    For a list of the contributions to this series, please click here.


And, from a special generation of artists, no one spoke that emotion as the state of everything, conveyed as a melodic message, more eloquently than the Elton John and Bernie Taupin partnership that flourished in the beginning days of Elton John's celebrity.

    "Mona Lisas and Madhatters", from Elton John's Honky Château, was that special ballad of heart wrenching sincerity, forever etched on the collective soul of generation, which saved a lyrical moment in time, and became a gift to so many. As Elton John's musical talent was immediately recognized and appreciated, it was his fortuitous collaboration with Bernie Taupin that made his songs truly remarkable, as lyrical message is at the innate core of every notable ballad that stands the test of time. And to that inevitable end, Bernie Taupin's poetic musings of the essence of his generation, their collective point in civilization's grand experiment that we all must participate ... like it or not.
Bernie Taupin (left) and Elton John (right), in 1971, discuss what they do: Above.    aooears courtesy of Wikipedia

    "Mona Lisas and Madhatters" is that timeless melody that will live on for many generations to bring musical enjoyment and spiritual insight to the betterment of those that appreciate beautiful things. Bernie Taupin's lyrics are here below:

Mona Lisas and Madhatters

         melody by Elton John / lyrics by Bernie Taupin


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 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

These lovely words and essential melody are combined to form Elton John's live rendition of "Mona Lisas and Madhatters", which is mostly his piano, his voice of Bernie Taupin's lyrics, and a faint, simple mandolin in the background: Below.



    Heart performed in 2002 in their home town of Seatle, but could not leave the stage until Ann and Nancy Wilson performed an acoustic guitar version (Ann on 12 string with a capo) and sister Nancy singing harmony (on the six string) of "Mona Lisas and Madhatters". Ann usually sings harmony, but her voice on her rendition of Elton John's /Bernie Taupin's masterpiece song is powerful and clear.

Heart's rendition is here below.


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Comments

( December 23rd, 2016 @ 5:01 pm )
 
I can play this one now on the guitar in a serviceable manner. The vocals are definitely a challenge, probably always will be.
( October 4th, 2015 @ 8:59 pm )
 
Well, that is what you and I do, Bobby Tony; we expose the gems to the masses.
( October 4th, 2015 @ 8:12 pm )
 
I will have to admit, this one slipped right past me in 1972. However, in defense of myself I was not into too much introspection at that time. I think I may have been more aware of Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road at the time. Thanks for posting this one. It's funny how some of the songs you missed can open up a new horizon. I may have to revisit some of EJ's songs to see what other Gems I missed.



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