Tox Tunes #54: Poisoning Pigeons in the Park (Tom Lehrer)
February 19, 2012, 2:05 pm
Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) had an eclectic career that included academic mathematics (he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard at age 19 and taught for many years at UC-Santa Cruz), a stint in the military (where he claims to have invented the jello shot), research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and — last but certainly not least — creating and performing catchy, brilliant, and twisted musical satire. He was the in-house (often censored) songwriter for the satirical NBC-TV show That Was The Week That Was (1964-65).
In liner notes to his second album, Mr. Lehrer summed up the personal aspiration behind his musical career: “If, after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while.”
Thanks to Chris Nickson from Life in the Fast Lane for drawing my attention to this clip from a performance in Oslo.