The off-beat title of this song gives no clues as to its subject matter, in fact it was inspired by lyricist Bernie Taupin's first visit to New York. Country boy Bernie was born on a farm in Lincolnshire, and was still not entirely comfortable about city living three years after it was recorded, as evinced by the down tempo track "Tell Me When The Whistle Blows".
"Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters" runs to exactly five minutes, and is the fourth track on the second side of the 1972 Honky Château album.
The song is one of Elton's personal favourites as one might imagine because it alternates between despair and optimism; in spite of his talent, fame, critical acclaim and wealth, Elton John has experienced more this his fair share of psychological problems including extreme bulimia and of course those staples of rock musicians everywhere - alcohol and drug abuse.
"Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters" was also influenced by "Spanish Harlem", to which it alludes.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above