Tom Lehrer

Tom Lehrer

Real Name:
Thomas Andrew Lehrer
Profile:
American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician, born on April 9, 1928 in Manhattan, NY. Lehrer's style was greatly influenced by musical theatre, but he often incorporated other musical styles to make a point. Lyrically, his humor was dark and witty, which was unusual for the novelty, comedic, and satirical music produced in the 50s and 60s.

Lehrer began to study piano at the age of 7. While he was an undergraduate student, majoring in mathematics at Harvard University in the 1950s, he began to write and perform comic and novelty songs to amuse his friends. In 1953, while teaching mathematics, Lehrer self-produced and released his first album, Songs By Tom Lehrer, on his own label Lehrer Records. He soon gained a cult following and toured the US, Europe (especially England), and Australia. After a brief stint in the army (1955-57), Lehrer returned to Harvard to teach and pursue his doctorate. Musically, "Songs By..." was followed by a live album, An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer, and a studio album, More Of Tom Lehrer, both released in 1959.

In the 1960s, he wrote songs for the US version of the British satirical TV news program, "That Was the Week That Was", and his satire took on a more political bend, dealing with topics such as racism, religion, war, nuclear proliferation and pollution. His songs were performed by members of the cast, usually with lyrics altered by the network censors. At Lehrer's insistence, an album of songs from the show was released in 1965, That Was The Year That Was (his first in 6 years and his last complete album of new material), with Lehrer performing the songs with their original lyrics, so that the audience could hear them as they were written. In 1996, "That Was The Week That Was" was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Tom Lehrer gave up public performance of his music in the early 1970s except for two performances in 1998 at a London gala show celebrating the career of musical theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh.

In the 1970s, he was approached by his Harvard classmate Joe Raposo, who was the Musical Director for the Children's Television Workshop (Sesame Street, etc.) about contributing some songs to the their new reading education show, "The Electric Company." He agreed and submitted the classics "L-Y" and "Silent-E." In the 1980s, Lehrer gave his blessing and support to a successful musical written for the British stage using his songs, "Tom Foolery". Around this time, Lehrer's music received a rebirth in popularity thanks to a California disc jockey named Barret Hansen, better known as Dr. Demento. He played novelty, comedy, and satirical music on his weekly two hour show.

In 1972, after teaching PolySci at MIT for several years, Lehrer accepted a position teaching mathematics and musical theatre at University of California, Santa Cruz. After 29 years, he taught his last mathematics class at UCSC in 2001. Today he is enjoying retirement in the area around the campus in Santa Cruz.
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Tom Lehrer Discography

Albums

TLEP-1 Tom Lehrer Songs By Tom Lehrer (Album, EP) Lehrer Records TLEP-1 US 1953 Sell This Version
TL 102 Tom Lehrer More Of Tom Lehrer (Album) Lehrer Records TL 102 US 1959 Sell This Version
LR 202 Tom Lehrer An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer (Album) Lehrer Records LR 202 US 1959 Sell This Version
TL 201 Tom Lehrer Tom Lehrer Revisited (Recorded During Concert Performances In The United States And Australia) (Album) Lehrer Records TL 201 US 1960 Sell This Version
RS 6179 Tom Lehrer That Was The Year That Was (Album) Reprise Records, Reprise Records RS 6179 US 1965 Sell This Version
TMONMT 102 Tom Lehrer The Words, Music And Lyrics Of Tom Lehrer The London Cast* Tom Lehrer The Words, Music And Lyrics Of Tom Lehrer The London Cast* - Tomfoolery(LP, Album, Mono) Monza Records TMONMT 102 US 1980 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

45-F 11243 Tom Lehrer Poisoning Pigeons In The Park (Single) Decca 45-F 11243 UK 1960 Sell This Version
R 23049 Tom Lehrer Pollution Reprise Records R 23049 US 1965 Sell This Version
PRO 224 Tom Lehrer An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer(7", Promo) Reprise Records PRO 224 US 1966 Sell This Version
CP2183 Tom Lehrer Masochism Tango(7", Single, Promo, S/S) Decca CP2183 UK Unknown Sell This Version
PRO 218 Tom Lehrer That Was The Year That Was(7", Promo) Reprise Records PRO 218 US Unknown Sell This Version
PRO 241 Tom Lehrer Songs By Tom Lehrer(7", Promo) Reprise Records PRO 241 US Unknown Sell This Version

Compilations

844 241-2 Tom Lehrer In Concert(CD, Comp, Mono) Decca Eclipse 844 241-2 UK & Europe 1994 Sell This Version
R2 72776 Tom Lehrer Songs & More Songs(CD, Comp) Rhino Entertainment Company R2 72776 US 1997 Sell This Version
R2 79831 Tom Lehrer The Remains Of Tom Lehrer(3xCD, Comp, RM + Box) Rhino Records (2), Warner Archives R2 79831 US 2000 Sell This Version
826663-11823 Tom Lehrer The Tom Lehrer Collection(CD, Comp + DVD, NTSC) Shout! Factory 826663-11823 US 2010 Sell This Version
DAY2CD121 Tom Lehrer An Evening With Tom Lehrer(2xCD, Comp) One Day Music DAY2CD121 UK 2011 Sell This Version