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Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!

DigiTrad:
ALMA
BE PREPARED 2
BRIGHT COLLEGE DAYS
CHRISTMAS TIME
CLEMENTINE (2)
ELEPHANTS (The Force of Habit---ROUND)
FIGHT FIERCELY, HARVARD!
HUNTING SONG
I WANNA GO BACK TO DIXIE
I'LL HOLD YOUR HAND IN MINE
IN OLD MEXICO
LOBACHEVSKY
MASOCHISM TANGO
MY HOME TOWN
NEW MATH
OEDIPUS REX (2)
POISONING PIGEONS IN THE PARK
POLLUTION
PROUD TO BE A SOLDIER
SMUT
SO LONG, MOM
THE CHEMICAL ELEMENTS
THE FOLK SONG ARMY
THE FORMULARY SONG
THE IRISH BALLAD (RICKETY TICKETY TIN)
THE OLD DOPE PEDDLER
THE RED LINE SONG
THE WIENER SCHNITZEL WALTZ
THE WILD WEST IS WHERE I WANT TO BE
VATICAN RAG
WE WILL ALL GO TOGETHER WHEN WE GO
WERNHER VON BRAUN
WHEN YOU ARE OLD AND GREY


Related threads:
Chord Req: Oedipus Rex - Tom Lehrer (13)
Lyr Add: The Elements (Tom Lehrer) (34)
Lyr Req: In Old Mexico (Tom Lehrer) (7)
DT Correction: Lobachevsky (Tom Lehrer) (12)
Lyr/Chords Req: A Christmas Carol (Tom Lehrer) (4)
Lyr/Chords: Vatican Rag (Tom Lehrer) (6)
Lyr Add: When You Are Old and Grey (Gray) (4)
Tom Lehrer? (64)
Tom Lehrer- Your favorite song? What's he doing? (129)
Animation of Tom Lehrer's 'The Elements' (17)
Lyr Add: Folk Song Army (Tom Lehrer) (5)
Lyr Req: Decimalisation (Tom Lehrer) (40)
Online: Tom Lehrer The Physical Revue math songs (8)
Tune Req: I Hold Your Hand in Mine (Tom Lehrer) (3)
Tom Lehrer: Tomfoolery in Oz (11)
Tom Lehrer - Who's next? (16)
Happy! - Apr 9 (T Lehrer / P Robeson) (1)
Lyr Req: The Irish Ballad (Tom Lehrer) (10)
Lyr/Chords Req: Irish Ballad / Rickity Tickity Tin (11)
Lyr Add: Hunting Song (Tom Lehrer) (7)
Lyr/Chords Req: Songs by Tom Lehrer (16)
Lyr Add: National Brotherhood Week (Tom Lehrer) (5)
Lyr Add: MLF Lullaby (Tom Lehrer) (2)
Tom Lehrer, new material (28)
Lyr Req: Rickety Tickety Tin / The Irish Ballad (3)
Flanders & Swann, Tom Lehrer (21)
Tune Add: Poisoning Pigeons In The Park (T Lehrer) (8)
Tune Add: Masochism Tango (Tom Lehrer) (1)
Tune Add: Wernher Von Braun (Tom Lehrer) (8)


Rick Fielding 11 Jun 00 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Judith 11 Jun 00 - 01:17 PM
TerriM 11 Jun 00 - 01:37 PM
Uncle_DaveO 11 Jun 00 - 01:48 PM
Mark Clark 11 Jun 00 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Penny S. 11 Jun 00 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Peter T. 11 Jun 00 - 04:00 PM
coriander 11 Jun 00 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,harrya 11 Jun 00 - 06:04 PM
Mrrzy 11 Jun 00 - 06:22 PM
SeanM 11 Jun 00 - 06:44 PM
rangeroger 11 Jun 00 - 06:56 PM
DonMeixner 11 Jun 00 - 07:07 PM
catspaw49 11 Jun 00 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,hollowfox, visiting her folks 11 Jun 00 - 07:35 PM
Rick Fielding 11 Jun 00 - 10:02 PM
TonyK 11 Jun 00 - 10:11 PM
Mark Clark 11 Jun 00 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Marymac, whose lost her cookie! 11 Jun 00 - 11:48 PM
Mbo 11 Jun 00 - 11:55 PM
Mbo 11 Jun 00 - 11:55 PM
catspaw49 11 Jun 00 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,Peter T. 12 Jun 00 - 10:09 AM
Rick Fielding 12 Jun 00 - 11:58 AM
DADGBE 12 Jun 00 - 01:16 PM
Jigger 12 Jun 00 - 01:42 PM
Bev and Jerry 12 Jun 00 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 12 Jun 00 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Bill H 12 Jun 00 - 06:05 PM
Susan A-R 12 Jun 00 - 10:32 PM
Rick Fielding 12 Jun 00 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,Liz the Squeak 13 Jun 00 - 02:18 AM
Pene Azul 13 Jun 00 - 02:24 AM
Wolfgang 13 Jun 00 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Bill H 13 Jun 00 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Mrr 14 Jun 00 - 11:09 AM
Mbo 14 Jun 00 - 11:55 AM
Sourdough 14 Jun 00 - 06:09 PM
DebC 14 Jun 00 - 07:54 PM
Susan A-R 14 Jun 00 - 10:28 PM
GUEST,Rachel C. 14 Jun 00 - 10:54 PM
Rick Fielding 14 Jun 00 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Doris 14 Jun 00 - 10:59 PM
Rick Fielding 14 Jun 00 - 11:16 PM
rangeroger 14 Jun 00 - 11:38 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Jun 00 - 02:27 PM
MMario 15 Jun 00 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU 15 Jun 00 - 04:25 PM
Hollowfox 15 Jun 00 - 04:32 PM
Morticia 15 Jun 00 - 04:42 PM
Peter T. 15 Jun 00 - 05:20 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 15 Jun 00 - 09:02 PM
AndyG 16 Jun 00 - 04:40 AM
Wolfgang 16 Jun 00 - 04:58 AM
Stewie 17 Jun 00 - 05:23 AM
Stilly River Sage 16 Aug 03 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Q 16 Aug 03 - 05:18 PM
alanabit 16 Aug 03 - 05:43 PM
Leo Condie 16 Aug 03 - 05:59 PM
Joe_F 16 Aug 03 - 06:21 PM
Clinton Hammond 16 Aug 03 - 06:30 PM
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Clinton Hammond 16 Aug 03 - 09:33 PM
Joe_F 17 Aug 03 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,eslteacher_2be@hotmail.com 29 Mar 04 - 09:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 04 - 11:28 PM
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Roger the Skiffler 20 Mar 11 - 04:51 AM
Bo 20 Mar 11 - 06:09 AM
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Jim Carroll 21 Mar 11 - 07:35 AM
Roger the Skiffler 21 Mar 11 - 02:04 PM
Bev and Jerry 21 Mar 11 - 05:36 PM
Leadfingers 21 Mar 11 - 07:36 PM
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Subject: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:05 PM

While thinking of a song for "the funniest....." thread, I started chuckling, just remembering the work of Tom Lehrer. He's often talked about in the same breath with Mark Russell, a current political satirist...but they're on different planets!

Tom took some absolutely wicked shots at virtually every subject, and his wit and skill with language holds up brilliantly some 40 years after he wrote most of them. Russell (although probably a nice fellow) uses a similar piano accompaniement style (Broadway/ragtime/cabaret) and has similar vocal characteristics, but his material strikes me as really unimaginative, and definitely less pointed than Tom's. Bottom line is that I bet Russel gets invited to a lot of Washington parties....and Tom Lehrer would have been much too dangerous. (although I'm sure a lot of his subjects laughed their fool heads off privately.....other than Werner Von Braun, and Hubert Humphrey!)

Do you remember "The Elements" (to the tune of "Modern Major General")?

How about "National Brotherhood Week"?

I used to sing "The Folk song Army". Do you remember the lines:

"Remember the war against Franco? A Place where each of us belongs.

They may have won all the battles.....but WE had all the good songs"!

And how about his trad epic, "An Irish Ballad"?

My Goodness that man could write. I doubt if there are any of his songs that wouldn't still work today. And don't forget the stir he caused with "The Vatican Rag"!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Judith
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:17 PM

I agree - much better than Russell. Sly & zingy. My parents' Catholic friends laughed till they cried at "Vatican Rag."

National Brotherhood Week was one of my faves too. "Be nice to people who/are inferior to you/it's only for a week, so have no fear/be grateful that it doesn't last all year" - neatly skewering both bigots & false liberals in one fell swoop!

You forgot to mention "Pollution" - unfortunately still valid after all these years. And "New Math." (Don't worry - base 8's just like base 10 - if you're missing two fingers.) One could go on & on. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: TerriM
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:37 PM

Yes, got to agree with you, my personal favourite has to be his Christmas one
Christmas time is here by golly
Dissaproval would be folly
Deck the halls with hunks of holly
Fill the cup and don't say when
The bit where he says 'Just the thing I need...how nice' cracks me up everytime.I love Oedipus Rex too. Is he still alive?


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:48 PM

My all-time favorite:
"Be Prepared! That's the Boy Scouts' marching song!
Be Prepared!
AS through life we march along.
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well!
Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell!

And so on, hilariously.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 02:31 PM

Teri, I'ts my understanding that Oedipus has been dead for some time.

I know, I know, nobody likes a smartass. Couldn't help it though. And don't tell me Lehrer would have passed that one up either. I heard a radio interview with Lehrer a little while back so I think he remains extant.

I still have several of his record albums and enjoy them as much now as we did forty years ago. I always loved "The Wild West Is Where I Want To Be" if that't the title... "In the land of the old AEC" for those of you who remember the AEC. "Where the scenery's attractive and the air is radio active."

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 03:09 PM

New Math is satire? I've been using it to teach subtraction! Even find myself using the rhythm when I'm not quoting it!

Penny


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 04:00 PM

A Lehrer web site: here. There is a somewhat obtuse article on this site which was obviously a college student essay that contains material from an interview with Lehrer. A classic choice bit:

Lehrer says he's "often reminded of the old Punch cartoon showing a dying patient forlornly asking the doctor at his bedside, 'Doctor, is there any hope?', to which the doctor replies 'No, why?'" When he is asked to write on current subjects, Lehrer reports feeling like "a resident of Pompeii who has been asked for some humorous comments on lava."


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: coriander
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 04:09 PM

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park has always been a favourite with my family! And I love the line from Bright College Days "..soon we'll be sliding down the razorblade of life"


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,harrya
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 06:04 PM

As a mathematician, I'm especially fond of His send-up of esoteric research in "Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky". He also wrote one which is near and dear to those who love Calculus. It's entitled "There's a Delta for every Epsilon", and is a clarion call to those who wish to liberate the theory of limits from the tyranny of positive epsilons. Those of you who have suffered through theoretical calculus will identify.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 06:22 PM

He is still alive, but I've heard that he's a flaming conservative and hates everything he ever wrote... so I'm really glad it all got published, it is a howl! That razorblade line is particularly quotable...


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: SeanM
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 06:44 PM

Anyone pick up the new Lehrer boxed set? I've been hearing some good things about it...

M


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: rangeroger
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 06:56 PM

I've got an excellent song book called "Too Many Songs by Tom Lehrer",published in 1981 that has the words and music to all of his songs.
When I was a Park Ranger I always thought of " Poisoning Pigeons in the Park " while I eliminated ground squirrels.I felt they were on a par with pigeons, and as someone once said,"Pigeons are just rats with wings".
rr


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 07:07 PM

Golley! Alma Zigut, A tour!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 07:10 PM

I think y'all can get nigh ass anything you want, or can get(webwise), on him by Clicking Like Hell Right Here. Then you'll be happily occupied clicking yourself all over to hell and begone on that site. TONS OF STUFF!!!! Be sure to check out the Tim Newsome website which is one of the first you encounter. Surf's up friends...Hang Ten.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,hollowfox, visiting her folks
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 07:35 PM

Ah, yes...the only music my parents ever hid from me in my checkered childhood. Not that they would have minded me knowing the songs - I knew all the drinking songs from Dei Fledermaus (in translation), after all. They just dreaded a phone call from school, if I started singing, say, "Old Dope Peddler", and the authorities heard me. There was a large article on Lehrer last week in the Youngstown (OH) Vindicator. Forget People Magazine; you know you've made it when they write about you in the YV. Keep the thread up, there's a good quote in the article, but I won't be home until next week, and won't have 'net access at work until Wednesday.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 10:02 PM

"Throw out your garbage...and I've got a hunch...

the folks downstream will drink it for lunch!"

As to Lehrer's becoming a "flaming conservative": I'd be sorry to hear that, BUT, he took as many shots at the pompous left as he did the pompous right. That's what I meant about him not being invited to ANY posh parties. To the best of my knowledge he never wrote about the Kennedys, but if he did, I'm sure it would have been hilarious.

Mark, thanks for using the word "extant". You give me hope for the future of the English language.(not that I help the cause much!)

Rick

Rick


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: TonyK
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 10:11 PM

Lehrer's probably the best of the genre but a close second is the earlier work of The Foremen when the original group was intact, specifically the 'Folk Heroes' CD (which I don't have and is out of print).


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 10:38 PM

Rick, I would as lief accept your unmerited approbation.

With gratitude,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Marymac, whose lost her cookie!
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 11:48 PM

And who can ever forget the line from Vatican Rag,

"Genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!"

Maybe you had to be Catholic to really appreciate it!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Mbo
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 11:55 PM

Did this guy ever have a nice word to say about anyone? Geez!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Mbo
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 11:55 PM

Did this guy ever have a nice word to say about anyone? Geez!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 11:59 PM

Well he hadn't met you Meebo or otherwise we'd have had another few songs.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 10:09 AM

Satirists are always conservative: they assume a bedrock human norm that is being skewed by contemporary idiocy (and occasionally, like Swift, they decide that the bedrock human norm is idiocy, and then they go mad), and which they skewer back. That doesn't make them neo-liberal fascists like today's conservatives. Any true conservative would be horrified by what passes for conservativism today: rampant greed and obeisances at a throne of ideological purity unflective of basic humaneness. I would bet that Lehrer is unchanged.
Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 11:58 AM

Mark, I take it back!!

Thanks Peter, great explanation. Keeps me from falling into a pit of depression when I occasionally start agreeing with George Will!

When I first discovered Lehrer, I was deeply into guitar-accompanied music, whether straight or satirical. His "pop" piano accompaniements really turned me off. I rid myself of my snobishness by convincing myself that he was "sending up" popular music, as well as the events of the day. Oh what a prig I was at 16!

Rick (old prig)


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: DADGBE
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 01:16 PM

No Mbo, he didn't have a good word for anybody and for me, that's the main charistic of his power. He always seemed to take folks right to the edge of comfort, then casually push them over the edge and enjoy watching them fall.

I miss having more songs from him but I suspect that he wasn't a happy person when he wrote them. I hope he's happy now.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Jigger
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 01:42 PM

...And how can you forget "The Masochism Tango?" or the only recently released "I got it from Alice"?

If you can stand another link, here's a fairly recent interview with Tom Lehrer (from 1997? '98?) from the onion.com, a satirical online paper in its own right:

http://avclub.theonion.com/avclub3619/avfeature_3619.html

As to whether Lehrer is now a raging conservative, I think his attitude can be summed up from a somewhat lengthy quote he gave in the above interview regarding political correctness, and its danger to the left and right:

"People on both sides take the other side very seriously. There are people who get really mad if they say "fuck" on the television, or they won't let you say it, or something like that. It's just minor when you look at what's going on in the world. So I don't know which is worse. I doubt there's any danger there. The people get very upset on either side when somebody attempts... People claim First Amendment and all that. But I don't think these are really important issues as long as there's poverty and hunger and a lack of education and people dying and children starving. This is important, not political correctness. I tell people, "I'll call you women instead of girls, just so long as I get paid more than you do." That's the issue, not all that PC stuff."

I think he says it all. I love a man who is so serious about his ridiculousness...

-Jigger


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 02:27 PM

The most amazing thing about Tom Leher is that if you mention his name or sing one of his songs at any folk gathering, everyone knows his songs and starts singing them. But, he wrote less than forty songs total. Not many songwriters have such a good success percentage.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 02:48 PM

How did this whole thread start? Oh yes, Rick Fielding's comments about Mark Russell. The fact that nobody hasmentioned Russell since thr first three postings might be used as a relative indication of the value of the collected works of the two. . . Lehrer's songs, I suspect will last for a very long time; Russell's will last as long as most topical songs do. I still remember an English professor telling me that many of the poets that Pope satirized in the Dunciad are ONLY remembered for having been mentioned there. . . I was singong the songs on the first record (the 10" with the red border of flames) before my voice changed and I suspect that i could still sing them all, in the order they are on the record. Imprinting lasts a LONG time. I must admit that I generally update Lobachevsky and use a current movie star to play the hypotenuse. I'm grateful to Tom Lehrer for another reason too; I doubt I would ever have discovered non-Euclidean geometry without that song!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Bill H
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 06:05 PM

I certainly cannot add anything but much agreement about all the comments on the honored subject. And, yes, Russel never came up again---for good reason.

There is one name that does come to mind in having some material that rises to the Lehrer level. He is the first to point out that he owes his roots to Tom Lehrer's. I speak of John Forster.

I had the pleasure of interviewing him a number of times on our radio program and debut his latest album --The Official Bootleg Album. Topical/satirical/ and he skewers some of our celebs, mores, and hypocrisy with surgical skill.

One of his earlier works--Entering Marion always breaks me up---Figaro Todd is another winner.

Bill H


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Susan A-R
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 10:32 PM

I started listening to Tom Lehrer records when I was seven (yep, that was the year that was. Ah well.) I was delighted to hear my six year old niece, trotting across the field to the pond singing We Will All Go Together at the top of her not inconsiderable lungs. I will also never forget my sister in law's face and laugh when she first heard Poisoning Pigeons in the park, and I once cchased someone without humor out of a coffee house by singing The Irish Ballad. Send the Marines hads come in handy several times of late, alas, and we sing the hunting song around here every November. What a guy!

Susan


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 11:31 PM

What's the story on John Forster? I'm not familiar with that name at all. Sounds like he was a fine satirist. When was his heyday?

Rick


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Liz the Squeak
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 02:18 AM

Aha, someone else who remember the song 'I got it from Agnes' - it cracks me up every time, and I'm always quoting 'He was always in the middle ~ Lucky Pierre!' and no-one has the slightest idea what I'm on about!!!

My favorite line has to be the cry at the end of the Harvard fight song,

Hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth
Six parts gin to one part vermouth!!

Ah, that's the way to make martinis!

Is the aforementioned 'I got it from....' available in the DT? I seem to have missed that one, and would love it back. And the boxed set is great, buy it today!!!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Pene Azul
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 02:24 AM

Liz, here (click) are lyrics to "I Got It From Agnes." If you still need help with your cookie, post to the help forum and I'll help you with it.

PA


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Wolfgang
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 08:17 AM

Did he ever have a nice word to say?
Sure, 'ALMA' is a kind of big praise of Alma Mahler-Gropius-Werfel:
The loveliest girl in Vienna,
was Alma, the smartest as well....
the body that reached her embalmer
was one that had known how to live.
And that song was kind of a response to a really difficult song contest started by himself. How do I write an English song with rhymes on Alma, the first and last names of her three husbands and their major works. That is: how do find rhymes for Franz, Mahler, Gustav, Werfel, Walter, Gropius, Alma, Bauhaus, Bernadette, Das Lied von der Erde.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Bill H
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 09:11 PM

Rick asked when was John Forster'heyday. It is now, Rick. John is, as they say, au caurrant--his latest CD is the "Official Bootleg Tape" album which features songs about Salman Rushdie, and un named Paul Simon. HELIUM, another album, tells us to say "no" to helium---as did Nancy Reagan in her say "no " to drugs. His spoof on Germany is a wonder.

John writes muscicals, satires, and also collaborates with Tom Chapin on many things.

I tend to play a some of his material when I am co- hosting the TRADITIONS program on WFDU 89.1 fm Teaneck NJ (www.wfdu.fm) on the web.

Bill H


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 11:09 AM

More on Mbo's comment - I don't think The Elements had anything BAD to say about any of them... and I agree that his song about Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel was (albeit tongue-in-cheek) more of a paion? Paen? What IS the word I'm looking for? than a roast.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Mbo
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 11:55 AM

You mean a Paean? A song of praise to one's own Muse? I wrote one of those. Did you know that every morning, as Mahler walked to the tiny bungalow behind his house that he composed in, that he'd put a kitten in each pocket of his coat as he went?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Sourdough
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 06:09 PM

Sometime in the mid-Sixties, I interviewed a very charming humorous poetess named Felicia Lamport Kaplan who lived in Cambridge. I believe that her husband, the Kaplan part of her name, was then on the faculty at Harvard Law. Felicia LK had recently put together a book of verse with the memorable title of "Scrap Irony".

The inteview went far longer than either of us anticipated because I was fascinated by a Broadway show she was working on, collaborating with Tom Leher. For her part, she was very interested in my experience at The Living Theatre with Judith Malina and Julian Beck. We spent several hours trading stories but now, several decades later, I can't remember any of what she told me. I have always been curious as to whether their Broadway show ever was completed.

The New Years Eve before last, I did spend at a local cabaret theater where a trio of singers and a pianist perormed and evening of songs of Tom Leher. Although there was a lot of grey and aggressively bleached blonde hair in the audience, the humor of the songs did reach through to all and people in their twenties were laughing at Leher's wit just as appreciatively as those people in their seventies.

As for Mark Russell - I don't think that it is particularly fruitful to compare the two. Russell took it upon himself to turn out a huge body of work, week in and week out. There is no one else who has been able to keep up his kind of political au courant musical satire on the day's news. He must be nearing seventy now but he performs with real excitement and he enjoys connecting with his audience. I think he would be quick to agree that his songs are not meant to last but there are some, perhaps from around the Watergate period, that may well persist because the memory of the specifics that inspired them will be around for a while. I enjoy the work of both Russell and Leher.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: DebC
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 07:54 PM

Funny? Satire? Compare to Tom Lehrer (a genius if I may say so)...here is a name no one has mentioned:

Mark Graham

Debra (spreading the Gospel of MongrelFolk) Cowan


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Susan A-R
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 10:28 PM

Ah yes, Their Brains were Small and they Died, I Can See Your Aura and It's Ugly. Nice ones. There are also the Barrymans (Why AM I painting the Living Room?) Leon Rossleson, Flanders and Swann (earlier vintage, not as political, but great stuff) But somehow Tom Lehrer stands on his own.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Rachel C.
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 10:54 PM

Didn't he do a song several years ago called, "Hang Your Hair Down In Your Eyes(And You'll make A Million Dollars)?


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 10:54 PM

Anyone heard of Paul Shenklin? He's an oddity in that his satires and parodies are aimed solely at the left. He's written some devestating stuff about Clinton, Gore, and especially James Carville.

I haven't turned into a right wing ditto-head, just appreciate wit, no matter where it comes from.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,GUEST, Doris
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 10:59 PM

You should hear my 98 year old mother entertain the staff, administrationk physicians and residents as she rattle off Lobachevsky. You'd have a ball!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 11:16 PM

Ughhh! cancel out the reccomendation for Shanklin! I looked him up on the net. It seems he ONLY parodies Clinto n and Gore...and his "friends" appear to be verrrry shall we say "conservative" (I'll refrain from using nastier words). One of his big friends is David Duke. I only heard two songs which I thought were funny.....don't think I wannna go there.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: rangeroger
Date: 14 Jun 00 - 11:38 PM

Sourdough,
The revue you mentioned was "Tomfoolery", which opened in London in 1980,and subsequently was produced in various other cities around the world.The original producer was Cameron Mackintosh.
This info is from the foreward written by Tom Lehrer in the songbook.
rr


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 02:27 PM

Mbo, thanks, and what did he DO with the kittens when he got TO the bungalow? Or was it the same kitten each time?


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: MMario
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 02:41 PM

I would think his pockets would get very full after a few days. Not to mention heavy.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Mbo_at_ECU
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 04:25 PM

He'd let them play in his studio, what do you think, you sickos? I shoulda known better than to say anything to you people. I'm quickly seeing bbc's point here.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Hollowfox
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 04:32 PM

Even better than my newspaper article (finally found it!) is the entry in that ever popular reference book series "Contemporary Authors" (For those of you in the USA, anyway, it's probably in the reference department of your main library. I don't have scanning capability here, so maybe somebody else can get it onto the 'Cat, if it's wanted). Anyway, it pretty much covers all his musical work (the entry was published in 1988), as well as his academic career. I was very glad to see that his songs to teach phonics for the Electric Company (an educational children's program in the 1970's) were included. As for politics, it says he did benefits for liberal political candidates. He made his first album while still a graduate student, and paid for the production himself ($717 for four hundred copies). As for his refusal to perform, he said, "I don't want to perform. I have no desire for anonymous affection." In the newspaper article, he gave the best reason for the high quality and low number of his songs:"When I got a funny idea for a song, I wrote it. And if I didn't, I didn't." And as Dr. Demento says,"Let's face it, a song like "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" never really goes out of style."


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Morticia
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 04:42 PM

Although I stand firm in my great regard for our Tom, I'm a bit surprised no-one has mentioned Jake Thackaray, and his immortal songs such as ' Isabel Makes Love upon National Monuments' and 'Grandad'.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 05:20 PM

Any other famous musicians and their pets? Mozart and the starling, Schubert and his peacocks, and Beethoven's wildebeest come to mind. The last one I just made up, and the last but one true but pornographic (his secret code for homosexual encounters), and the Mozart is a fable -- are there any other real ones that come to mind?

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 15 Jun 00 - 09:02 PM

Morticia's reference to Jake Thackaray got me thinking. My recollection is that Lehrer's first TV appearances in the UK were on the (David) Frost Report, maybe as far back as the late 60s? He alternated with some other singer, and I'm wondering if this might have been Thackaray. (If not,it was Alex Glasgow or Julie Felix. My memory has muddled two or three shows together I fear.)

Thackaray certainly turned out some brilliant songs,though I would be a bit surprised if his style ever caught on across the Atlantic - could any stateside 'catters throw light on that? And can anyone tell me which of his songs has the line "And I felt a right silly pillock with me one of each twice." ?

But Sorry, Jake - Lehrer was in a class of his own: hilarious songs, and effortless mastery of the keyboard. Did he tour? Have any Mudcatters seen him live?


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: AndyG
Date: 16 Jun 00 - 04:40 AM

Fionn,

Tom Lehrer - The Frost Report etc. Julie Felix. - The Frost Report etc.
Jake Thackray - Braden's Week etc.

Alex Glasgow - other than "The Northern Drift" on the radio I can't remember. It might have been Braden's Week/The Braden Beat.

Isabella lives here.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Jun 00 - 04:58 AM

Thanks for the link, Andy, that is the first translation of Brassens in English I have seen.

here's the French original.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Jun 00 - 05:23 AM

Track listing for the box set mentioned way above can be found here:

Lehrer

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 04:39 PM

I heard an ad on my local public radio station this weekend for the program Comedy College.

The subject this week: Tom Lehrer.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 05:18 PM

I found "Marinette" easier to find here:
French Songs
Enter Interpretes, select Brassens, and scroll down to Marinette. There are 216 Brassens songs on the list, all available.
Internet Explorer only- some problems trying to use Netscape at this voluminous site.

I think Wolfgang is still around- any update possible on a site for Alma?


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: alanabit
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 05:43 PM

A belated response, but the song Liz quoted from all those posts (and three years) back was not "Fight Harvard Fight" but "Bright College Days". They are both great songs.
   I recall my introduction to Tom Lehrer came at a Downes and Beer gig. Paul sang "The Masochism Tango," with its wonderful opening couplet, "I ache for the touch of your lips dear/But much more for the touch of your whips dear." I went to the record shop to discover more.
   "I hold your hand in mine," is in such monumentally bad taste but it is screamingly funny. It takes someone a bit special to bring that off.
   I was thinking about the satirist whom Fionn was trying to recall from the David Frost Show. I believe that Julie Felix did appear. However, if he is recalling a humorist who improvised calypsos, he may be recalling Lance Percival on That Was The Week That Was.
   Tom Lehrer was prodigiously clever and funny though. I think only Shel Silverstein, who was essentially rather gentler, produced as many lastingly funny songs.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Leo Condie
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 05:59 PM

he didn't write enough of them, but i thought a few phil ochs songs were on a par with lehrer at times.

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
Of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
As long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crane?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I read New Republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the democtratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Joe_F
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 06:21 PM

My mother gave me Tom Lehrer's first record as a high school graduation present in 1954. [ObFolk: I had already heard one of the songs on it ("The Irish Ballad"); it was in oral circulation in my high school.] I still have it, and I still listen to it from time to time.

I agree that he has worn remarkably well. It is nice to know that he is appreciated even by people who are too young to remember what a breath of fresh air he was in the Stuffy Fifties.

Flanders & Swann of blessed memory outdid him in metrical & musical agility; but hell, they were professionals, whereas Lehrer was just having fun. In that, IMO, he deserves a world of emulators.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 06:30 PM

"hates everything he ever wrote..."

It's good to know I'm not the only one who feels that way about his 'work'...


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,hrothgleas
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 08:32 PM

Someone quoted from one of my favorite contemporary singer-songwriters, and didn't appear to know who it was: Todd Snider's first album, 'Songs from the Daily Planet' is terrific from beginning to end. 'My Generation (Part Two).' has the line 'Hang your hair down in your eyes, you';ll make a million dollars' It's hysterical.

I teach High School, and half my kids tell me they listen to alternative music. When I ask the what that means, they get as glazed-eyed as when we discuss quantum mechanics. I have REM's single 'Fall on Me' on '45 - that was alternative 20 years ago...

In Snider's song, the band tries to fit in in Seattle, then out-does the local 'alternative' bands by not recording anything. They're finally out-done by a band that isn't even together. ("Talk about alternative - that's alternative to alternative... I feel stupid - AND contagious!' I did that for the last time at a school variety show 5 years ago, when it seemed like grunge had finally died - dedicated to a student who was still a huge Nirvana fan. At the time, Cobain had checked out, Courtney Love was a movie star, and another Seattle band (Soundgarten??) had just broken up. I sang the song while sone kids still got the joke.

I also sang Lehrer's "ELement song' last year at an awards assemply (I teach AP Chemistry), and still recall the lines:

'In Cherman, oder Englisch, I know how to count down -
And I'm learning Chinese, says Wernher von Braun.'

(Once the rockets go up - who cares where they go down?
That's not my department says Werner von Braun)


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 09:33 PM

"'My Generation (Part Two).' has the line 'Hang your hair down in your eyes, you';ll make a million dollars' It's hysterical."

One of your favs eh?

My Generation Part 2 doesn't have such a line in it... The Talking Seattle Grunge Blues does however...
And the full chorus goes

Hey hey my my
Rock and roll will never die
Just hang your hair down in your eyes
You'll make a million dollars


The chorus for My Generation part 2 goes

Here's to hair gel
Hanging out at the health spa
Using Condom sense
And watching L.A. Law
Here's to drum machines, stone washed jeans
credit cards and fax machines
Big-bow headed chicks and frat guys
Wearing $40.00 tie-dyed T-shirts
And big bold paisley ties
Here's to living off dad as long as ya can
And blending in with the crowd
My generation should be proud


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Aug 03 - 06:43 PM

ClintonHammond:

You are surely not alone. The following testimonials are quoted on the jacket of _An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer_:

"More desperate than amusing" -- _New York Herald Tribune_
"He seldom has any point to make except obvious ones" -- _Christian Science Monitor_
"Mr. Lehrer's muse [is] not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste" -- _New York Times_
"Vulgarity" -- _Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph_
"Obvious, jejune, and remarkably unsophisticated" -- _London Evening Standard_
"Plays the piano acceptably" -- _Oakland Tribune_

Alas, Mr Lehrer has already outlasted the _Tribune_ by some decades.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,eslteacher_2be@hotmail.com
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 09:58 PM

Yes I loved his songs. Too bad they don't write them like that any more.But Rick you are in good company now. Good bye.


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 11:28 PM

Er--Tom Lehrer is still alive and well. Rick is no doubt in good company, but Mr. Lehrer lives in Santa Cruz!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Ptorq
Date: 19 Mar 11 - 11:04 PM

So yeah: years after the fact, but "Golley, Alma zigit, a tour" is actually Gaudeamus Igitur ("let us rejoice"). It's commonly sung as a drinking song; the general theme is "let's enjoy life while we're young, because all too soon we'll get old and die."


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 20 Mar 11 - 12:34 AM

i found two of his old records and put them on cd for easy listening. i had a girl friend who rolled on the floor in laughter to "i hold your hand in mine" very romantic untill he hit the verse

"the night you died i cut it off
i really don't knoiw why
now each time that i kiss it
i get blood stains on my tie"

i still sing the irish ballad

he was the best satyrical somg writer ever


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 20 Mar 11 - 04:51 AM

Paul Gambaccini interviewed him for his series on the making of key hit records. I heard the programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday, probably still available on Listen Again facility. Always makes me laugh, however often I hear those classic routines.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Bo
Date: 20 Mar 11 - 06:09 AM

That was a great program yesterday and very interesting - but - it was about Bob Newhart.

Unless I've got the wrong program , again !


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 20 Mar 11 - 09:20 PM

Somebody please visit



and make your appreciation of Lehrer known. I'm tired of being keeper of the flame there. As Tom said in "New Math", "Now, let's not always see the same hands".


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 20 Mar 11 - 09:25 PM

Trying the blue clicky again. The forum portion needs more participants:

http://www.casualhacker.net/tom.lehrer/


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 07:35 AM

His comment that giving Henry Kissenger the Nobel Peace Prize did away with the need for satire ranks as one of the most incisive comments of all times.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 02:04 PM

I not only can't tell my arse from my elbow, I clearly can't tell my Newhart from my Lehrer!

RtS
(it's an age thing...)


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 05:36 PM

Very nice site, Ken. Keep up the good work.

Once, after we did a couple of our original songs, the MC remarked that they sounded like they could have been written by Tom Lehrer. That was thirty years ago and we never forgot it - probably the highest compliment anyone ever paid us.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 07:36 PM

Having just learned Paxton's 'Forest Lawns' , I was able to ask him after a local gig if (ESPECIALLY the 'Likeness Cast in brass' etc) he had ever been influenced by Tom Lehrer he replied "Of Course!"


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,C. Ham
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 01:06 PM

Mike Regenstreif on "The Tom lehrer Collection"


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 01:50 PM

i still sing the irish ballad

he was the best satyrical somg writer ever


Now I have a picture of Tom with cloven hooves & hairy legs!


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Subject: RE: Tom Lehrer and his satire. The Best!
From: GUEST,Ken Brock
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 05:59 PM

another quote about satire:

"Satire is what closes on Saturday night". George S. Kaufman


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