Tom Lehrer Lives

Some kind soul has put on YouTube an entire 1967 performance by Tom Lehrer — in Copenhagen of all places. (Is rhythmic clapping still a custom there today?)

Enjoy it now before someone takes it down.

Incidentally, it seems Tom Lehrer is still around:

Most people assume that Tom Lehrer is dead, just as he has always wished us to think. Lehrer is by no means dead, but he turns 85 this month. After he retired at the peak of his fame in 1960, he gleefully collected all newspaper references to “the late Tom Lehrer,” and a CD box set of his collected works that came out in 2000 was called “The Remains of Tom Lehrer.”

LEHRER HAS REMAINED, if not a recluse, an intensely private man. Nobody knows much about him except his songs, exactly as he likes it. He grew up in Manhattan, the privileged Jewish son of a necktie manufacturer, attended a prep school and then Harvard, where he spent seven years pursuing a doctorate he never got (“I wanted to be a graduate student forever”). After he stopped performing, he produced a handful of songs for “The Electric Company” (“Silent E” is still fondly remembered by yuppies) and this or that riff, like his Jewish Yuletide carol, “Hanukkah in Santa Monica.”

Those songs never get old for me. But I had to explain to one my kids once, many years ago, who Brezhnev was.

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One Response to Tom Lehrer Lives

  1. fnord says:

    As a teenage Canadian radical in the ’60’s I was perusing my musician father’s record collection and amongst Stravinsky, ‘Yardbird’ Parker et al I found a Tom Lehrer album. I had never heard him or even of him. I was blown away by his brilliant and biting wit, turning everyone onto him I could think of. Wikipedia speaks of how he essentially had to spread in such a viral fashion as he received virtually no airplay, should you care to believe Wikipedia. If so, they do have a number of hilarious stories and quotes. A search for ‘Tom Lehrer’ on YouTube does bring up a bewildering variety of live and studio recordings.

    I imagine he may have invaded Scandinavia at least partly due to the number of US draft dodgers, deserters, and dissidents over there. Canada had/has the largest number of such who became a large net benefit. In trade we gave the US a minor league draft choice who turned out to be Senator Ted Cruz. One can only imagine how Tom, and only Tom, could pen a tune about birthplace(s) and the Presidency. and how and where he could repeatedly skewer today’s twitching body politic. ~g

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