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Tom Lehrer

 

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Tom Lehrer’s comedy career was brief. In 1953, at his own expense, he pressed 400 copies of his first record, and sold them locally at Harvard. Then, in 1959 he tried a second album, and through 1960 went on tour in Europe and Australia. That was enough. He became a full-time college professor at M.I.T. and later at the University of California.

By 1964 he figured he’d pretty much covered what he could. Any subject matter he hadn’t yet tackled was simply too complex for a three-minute satire. An amusing song about capital punishment or abortion –– it’s a tough assignment.

In 1971, he did write some children’s material for “The Electric Company” on PBS. And more recently, he added a few light songs to the 3-disc boxed set of his work that Rhino Records issued.

The Remains of Tom Lehrer, Rhino Records, 2000.

 
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