If one had ever listened to the Dr. Demento Radio Program on various FM rock stations at the end of the 20th century, then Professor Tom Lehrer should be a well known name.  This mathematics educator had a second career as a musician, recording parody songs and comedy bits.

Some of his tunes were “I Hold Your Hand in Mine” and “Be Prepared.”    His follow-up recording More of Tom Lehrer included “The Masochism Tango” and “The Elements.”  Our personal favorite was “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” a wonderful little ditty about murder most fowl.

He also wrote music for the show That Was the Week That Was and The Electric Company.

He has been quoted as saying

  • “An actress must never lose her ego–without it she has no talent”
  • “Life is like a piano.  What you get out of it depends on how you play it”
  • “In my youth there were words you couldn’t say in front of a girl; now you can’t say ‘girl'”
  • “I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that!”

Here you can see the man himself perfoming “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.”

This mad genius stopped performing in the early 1970 but still taught mathematics until 2001. He can still be seen wandering the halls of the University of California, Santa Cruz.  On why he stopped touring, Tom said that he was bored with  playing the same songs night after night.  How does he think Elton John feels?


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