Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tom Lehrer


A rather scratchy LP I bought today at Crewe flea market for a quid. This was recorded before an audience in 1965 in a San Franciscian night club. Based on songs he wrote for satirical TV show called "That Was The Week That Was" not to be confused by the Britsih show of the same name.

Here's what Wikipedia says about him-

"As an undergraduate student at Harvard University, he began to write comic songs to entertain his friends, including "Fight Fiercely, Harvard" (1945). Those songs later became (in a joking reference to a leading scientific journal) The Physical Revue. Influenced mainly by musical theater, his style consisted of parodying the then-current forms of popular song. For example, his appreciation of list songs led him to set the names of the chemical elements to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Major General's Song".
Inspired by the success of his performances of his songs, he paid for some studio time to record an album, Songs by Tom Lehrer, which he sold by mail order. Self-published and unpromoted, the album, which included the macabre ("I Hold Your Hand In Mine"), the mildly risqué ("Be Prepared"), and the mathematical ("Lobachevsky"), became a success via word of mouth. With a cult hit, he embarked on a series of concert tours and released a second album, which came in two versions: the songs were the same but More Songs by Tom Lehrer was studio-recorded, while An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer was recorded live in concert.
By the early 1960s Lehrer had retired from touring (which he intensely disliked) and was employed as the resident songwriter for the US edition of That Was The Week That Was (TW3), a satirical TV show. An increased proportion of his output became overtly political, or at least topical, on subjects such as pollution ("Pollution"), Vatican II ("The Vatican Rag"), race relations ("National Brotherhood Week"), American militarism ("Send the Marines") and nuclear proliferation ("Who's Next?" and "We Will All Go Together When We Go"). He also wrote a song which satirized the alleged amorality of Wernher von Braun. A selection of these songs was released in the album That Was The Year That Was."

Find out more about Tom Lehrer HERE.


Tom Lehrer - What Ever Happened To Hubert?

Tom Lehrer - New Math

Tom Lehrer - Alma

Tom Lehrer - Who's Next?

Tom Lehrer - The Vatican Rag

2 comments:

JBF said...

Hi there - thanks for this! A really wonderful Higgins track was featured in the Sounds of 78s blog by Roger Wilmut a long, long time ago!

wastedpapiers said...

This confued me a little JBF but then i realised you'd commented on the wrong artiste! Thanks anyway!