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March 31, 2004

For the day before April Fool's Day, a tribute to Tom Lehrer. It's also as close as I can get to celebrating his birthday (April 9, 1928).

PLAYLIST
Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Tom Lehrer may be the most unlikely cult figure of the 20th century and maybe the 21st as well. In a culture obsessed with celebrity, Lehrer jealously guards his privacy, rarely granting interviews and preferring to quietly teach mathematics. In a nation in which everybody wants to be a star, Lehrer limited his performing career a total of 15 nightclub engagements and 105 solo concerts, the most recent of which took place in 1967. And in a business in which this year’s star is next year’s has-been, Lehrer’s song parodies have been consistently popular for over 45 years with a small but dedicated group of degenerates of whom yours truly is certainly one.

The Onion AV Club did an intresting interview with Lehrer back in 2000. True Lehrerophiles will also want to check out a Flash movie version of his song "The Elements".
Selling Out The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer, orchestra conducted by Rob Fisher This was written in 1973 for a student musical at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
When You Are Old and Gray The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer It's a pointed send-up of the 1905 classic "Will You Love Me in December as You Did in May?" and other songs about love lasting through the ages.
I Hold Your Hand in Mine The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer Lehrer says that of all his songs, this is the one he gets the most requests not to perform.
Poisoning Pigeons in the Park The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer An ode to the giddy pleasures of spring.
The Masochism Tango The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer Another great love song and (rather inexplicably, in my view) one of his most popular numbers, at least as judged by requests to The Dr. Demento Show.
I'm Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer, orchestra conducted by Rob Fisher This was written in 1990 for Garrison Keillor's The American Radio Company show (now defunct) and is somewhat autobiographical. Since 1971 Lehrer has divided his teaching duties between Harvard and - in the winter - the University of California at Santa Cruz. He teaches mathematics at both institutions and is happy to stay out of the limelight, cheerfully thumbing his nose at celebrity.
Pollution The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer This and the next two were part of a group Lehrer wrote for the 1965 satirical TV show That Was the Week That Was. Alas, this is as relevant now as it was nearly 40 years ago.
So Long, Mom The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer A rousing song for World War III - also sadly relevant today. Steve Allen sang this on the show.
The Vatican Rag The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer As a lapsed Catholic, this is one of my favorites. Lehrer never bothered to submit it to NBC for TW3, however. In 1965, it would have been considered far too inflammatory.
L-Y The Remains of Tom Lehrer (2000) Tom Lehrer, orchestra conducted by Joe Raposo This was part of a group of educational songs written for the PBS TV series The Electric Company in 1971 and 1972.


Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.


 Back to Playlists  |   Previous Show— Hit Parade (March 24 2004)   |   Next Show— Jesus Christ! (April 14, 2004) 
 KDHX FM 88.1