Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tom Lehrer

One of three Tom Lehrer I have found cheaply but this is the cheapest as it was absolutley free - sent in the post by a kind lady who didn't have a record player and so thought I might like it! It's full of great songs- all very short and very funny.

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 - The Old Dope Peddler

Tom Lehrer - Be Prepared

Tom Lehrer - The Wild West

Tom Lehrer - I Wanna Go Back To Dixie

Tom Lehrer - Fight Fiercely, Harvard

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.


Dave said...

Cool. I have Lehrer's Cd of his 2 greatest hits LP. It was the first time I'd heard his music. I learned of him through the Sir Ghastly website.

michael said...

Greatest hits?? I can imagine a "Best of...."compilation though. It's a shame he gave up show biz for the academic life but he gave us some gems. I just had to look up the Sir Ghastly website after you mentioned it dave. Some good stuff there too. Spooky sound files and clanking chains etc.

Dave said...

It was actually called "Songs And More Song". Here's a track list:
Track listing
1. Fight Fiercely, Harvard
2. Old Dope Peddler, The
3. Be Prepared
4. Wild West Is Where I Want To Be, The
5. I Wanna Go Back To Dixie
6. Lobachevsky
7. Irish Ballad, The
8. Hunting Song, The
9. My Home Town
10. When You Are Old And Gray
11. I Hold Your Hand In Mine
12. Wiener Schnitzel Waltz, The
13. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
14. Bright College Days
15. Christmas Carol, A
16. Elements, The
17. Oedipus Rex
18. In Old Mexico
19. Clementine
20. It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier
21. She's My Girl
22. Masochism Tango, The
23. We Will All Go Together When We Go
24. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park
25. Masochism Tango, The
26. Hunting Song, The
27. We Will All Go Together When We Go - (previously unreleased)
28. I Got It From Agnes - (previously unreleased)

I think it was a combination of 2 LPs he had put out called "Tom Lehrer Songs" and "Tom Lehrer More Songs" or something like that. I see the CD on ebay a lot for around $6.00 or more.

I guess Lehrer didn't like all the hubbub of celebrity life, and pretty much just walked away form it to go back to teaching.

michael said...

Thanks for going to the trouble of sending a tracklist Dave. Sounds like an excellent introduction to his work. Recently a boxed set of everything he ever recorded came out mail order only- very expensive. It included a disc of out-takes and unreleased songs which was intriguing. Hopefully will find it at a boot sale one day! stranger things have happened!

Olde Edo said...

Perhaps you may be interested to hear Lehrer's first theatrical production, dating from 1951-52. Here is the link:

Mad Magazine also carried a few of Lehrer's songs (lyrics only) during the 50's, with illustrations by Don Martin.