Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tom Lehrer

Tom Lehrer is a singer-songwriter who accompanies himself on piano. He is primarily a satirist whose songs are very humorous and were topical during the height of his popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. I became familiar with his songs when I lived in California in 1974-76. I heard several of them on the "Dr. Demento Show" on radio Sunday evenings.

I collected his albums which were not difficult to find because they had been re-issued several times over the years, and now they're all available on cd.

In 1979, I called Mr. Lehrer, who was living in Santa Cruz, California. We had a brief conversation, during which I told him of my enjoyment and interest in his music and songs. I did ask him why he wasn't still performing, and he told me he thought that current events in the past few years were too serious to satirize. I asked if he'd send me an autographed photo, and he said he had a small snap-shot-type photo he sent to people, but asked me to write to him.

I went to my public library and found a book of his songs in sheet-music format, and copied the first page of a couple of them. I sent him the copies, and within two weeks, I received this photo from him. He also signed the copies of sheet music, which can be seen here and here.

Here are some videos of Mr. Lehrer performing some of my favorites:
"National Brotherhood Week"

"Wernher Von Braun"

"We Will All Go Together When We Go"

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