Thomas Andrew Lehrer or ‘Tom’ Lehrer is an American satirist, singer, songwriter and mathematician. He is renowned for his terse and vigorously expressive comical tracks he recorded during the 50s and 60s. He was also known for his great piano skills. One of the greatest compositions from Lehrer has to be ‘The Elements’ where he slots the name of chemical elements to the tune of Major-General's song from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. His works largely dealt with parodies of famous tracks. His was also highlighted political and social issues prevalent in the country while inculcating dark humor into his subjects. Despite the criticism and controversies he attracted due to the references made on his subjects, it did not diminish the popularity of these tracks. After his retirement from public performance, he was largely dedicated towards teaching mathematics and music theatre at University of California, Santa Cruz. Here some of the famous quotes from Tom Lehrer.
I was immersed in popular songs of the time, of the '30s and '40s. I was writing songs, making fun of the attitudes of those songs, in the musical style of the songs themselves; love songs, folk songs, marches, football.
I'm not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them.
My last public performance for money was in 1967. For free, it was 1972, with the exception of two little one-shot, one-song things. But that's just for friends, out of friendship for the people involved, and also because it was fun.
One of the things I'm proudest of is, on my record 'That Was the Year that Was' in 1965, I made a joke about spending $20 billion sending some clown to the moon. I was against the manned space program then, and I'm even more against it now, that whole waste of money.
Eddie Izzard is wonderful, I think, but I've only seen that one HBO special he did. He's one of the few people who talk about stuff other than girlfriends and relationships and flatulence and genitalia. There are very few of them who actually talk about real stuff.
I stopped performing because I don't have the temperament of a performer. You have to want to do the same thing over and over again. Once I got it right, I didn't want to do it again. I always use the analogy of a novelist who has to read his novel in public night after night. I just didn't want to do it.
I figure I wrote 37 songs in 20 years, and that's not exactly a full-time job. It wasn't that I was writing and writing and writing and quit. Every now and then I wrote something, and every now and then I didn't. The second just outnumbered the first.
I didn't feel the need for anonymous affection, for people in the dark applauding. To me, it would be like writing a novel and then getting up every night and reading your novel. Everything I did is on the record and, if you want to hear it, just listen to the record.