From: email@example.com version 1.1, June, 9th 1993 transcribed by Birgit Klug & Eike Krömer, May 1993 in TeX Send bugs and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org converted to text file by Jeff Morris (email@example.com) March 26, 1995 If you do not enjoy this file, you will certainly not enjoy: LEHRER.DISCO LYRICS:LEHRER.WASTED LYRICS:LEHRER.TW3 LYRICS:LEHRER.MISC LYRICS:LEHRER.DIFF all available via the Web and through the Dementia FAQ List mail server at firstname.lastname@example.org by mailing with the appropriate subject line.
Even before he came to Harvard, however, he was well known in academic circles for his masterly translation into Latin of The Wizard of Oz, which remains even today the standard Latin version of that work. A few years ago he was inducted...forcibly...into the United States Army and spent most of his indenture in Washington as sort of Army liaison to the Office of Naval Contemplation. About his service record he is justifiably modest, but it is known that in a short time he rose to the rank of brigadier general. However, before he could acquire a tenure, he was discharged, and owing to nepotism and intrigue, he emerged with only the rank of specialist 3rd class, which was roughly equivalent to the rank of corporal without portfolio.
But to return to his career in show business: for several years he toured vaudeville theaters with an act consisting of impressions of people in the last throes of various diseases. I'm sure that many of you here tonight still recall with pleasure his memorable diphtheria imitation. He is generally acknowledged to be the dean of living American composers, and is currently working on a musical comedy based on the life of Adolf Hitler. Without further ado - Tom Lehrer...
Well, what I like to do on formal occasions like this is to take some of the various types of songs that we all know and presumably love, and, as it were, to kick them when they're down. I find that if you take the various popular song forms to their logical extremes, you can arrive at almost anything from the ridiculous to the obscene, or - as they say in New York - sophisticated. I'd like to illustrate with several hundred examples for you this evening, first of all, the southern type song about the wonders of the American south. But it's always seemed to me that most of these songs really don't go far enough. The following song, on the other hand, goes too far. It's called I Wanna Go Back To Dixie.
I wanna go back to Dixie, Take me back to dear ol' Dixie, That's the only li'l ol' place for li'l ol' me. Old times there are not forgotten, Whuppin' slaves and sellin' cotton, And waitin' for the Robert E. Lee. (It was never there on time.) I'll go back to the Swanee, Where pellagra makes you scrawny, And the honeysuckle clutters up the vine. I really am a-fixin' To go home and start a-mixin' Down below that Mason-Dixon line. Oh, poll tax, How I love ya, how I love ya, My dear ol' poll tax. Won'tcha come with me to Alabammy, Back to the arms of my dear ol' Mammy, Her cookin's lousy and her hands are clammy, But what the hell, it's home. Yes, for paradise the Southland is my nominee. Jes' give me a ham hock and a grit of hominy. I wanna go back to Dixie, I wanna be a Dixie pixie And eat corn pone till it's comin' outta my ears. I wanna talk with Southern gentlemen And put that white sheet on again, I ain't seen one good lynchin' in years. The land of the boll weevil, Where the laws are medieval, Is callin' me to come and nevermore roam. I wanna go back to the Southland, That "y'all" and "shet-ma-mouth" land, Be it ever so decadent, There's no place like home.
Along the trail you'll find me lopin' Where the spaces are wide open, In the land of the old A.E.C. Yee-hoo! Where the scenery's attractive, And the air is radioactive, Oh, the Wild West is where I wanna be. 'Mid the sagebrush and the cactus I'll watch the fellows practice Droppin' bombs through the clean desert breeze. A-ha! I'll have on my sombrero, And of course I'll wear a pair o' Levis over my lead B.V.D.'s. I will leave the city's rush, Leave the fancy and the plush, Leave the snow and leave the slush And the crowds. I will seek the desert's hush, Where the scenery is lush, How I long to see the mush-room clouds. 'Mid the yuccas and the thistles I'll watch the guided missiles, While the old F.B.I. watches me. Yee-hoo! Yes, I'll soon make my appearance (Soon as I can get my clearance), 'Cause the Wild West is where I wanna be.
[The LP label for the UK pressing has this as The Old Pope Peddler - Ian]
When the shades of night are falling, Comes a fellow everyone knows. It's the old dope peddler, Spreading joy wherever he goes. Every evening you will find him, Around our neighborhood. It's the old dope peddler Doing well by doing good. He gives the kids free samples, Because he knows full well That today's young innocent faces Will be tomorrow's clientele. Here's a cure for all your troubles, Here's an end to all distress. It's the old dope peddler With his powdered happiness.
Now we come to that peculiar bit of Americana known as the football fight song. I was reminded not too long ago, upon returning from my lesson with the Scrabble pro at the Harvard club in Boston, of the days of my undergraduacy long ago when there used to be these very long Saturday afternoons in the fall with nothing to do - the library was closed - just waiting around for the cocktail parties to begin. And on occasions like that, some of us used to wander over to the...I believe it was called the stadium, to see if anything might be going on over there. And one did come to realize that the football fight songs that one hears in comparable stadia have a tendency to be somewhat uncouth, and even violent, and that it would be refreshing, to say the least, to find one that was a bit more genteel. And here it is, dedicated to my own alma mater, and called Fight Fiercely, Harvard.
Fight fiercely, Harvard, fight, fight, fight! Demonstrate to them our skill. Albeit they possess the might, Nonetheless we have the will. How we will celebrate our victory, We shall invite the whole team up for tea. (How jolly!) Hurl that spheroid down the field, And fight, fight, fight! Fight fiercely, Harvard, fight, fight, fight! Impress them with our prowess, do! Oh, fellas, do not let the crimson down, Be of stout heart and true. Come on, chaps, fight for Harvard's glorious name! Won't it be peachy if we win the game? (Oh, goody!) Let's try not to injure them, But fight, fight, fight! Let's not be rough, though! Fight, fight, fight! And do fight fiercely! Fight, fight, fight!
Be that as it may, some of you may have had occasion to run into mathematicians and to wonder therefore how they got that way, and here, in partial explanation perhaps, is the story of the great Russian mathematician Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky.
Who made me the genius I am today, The mathematician that others all quote, Who's the professor that made me that way? The greatest that ever got chalk on his coat. One man deserves the credit, One man deserves the blame, and Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy! Nicolai Ivanovich Lobache... I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky. In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize! Plagiarize, Let no one else's work evade your eyes, Remember why the good Lord made your eyes, So don't shade your eyes, But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize... Only be sure always to call it please research. And ever since I meet this man my life is not the same, And Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy! Nicolai Ivanovich Lobache... I am never forget the day I am given first original paper to write. It was on analytic and algebraic topology of locally Euclidean metrization of infinitely differentiable Riemannian manifold. Bozhe moi! This I know from nothing. But I think of great Lobachevsky and I get idea - haha! I have a friend in Minsk, Who has a friend in Pinsk, Whose friend in Omsk Has friend in Tomsk With friend in Akmolinsk. His friend in Alexandrovsk Has friend in Petropavlovsk, Whose friend somehow Is solving now The problem in Dnepropetrovsk. And when his work is done - Haha! - begins the fun. From Dnepropetrovsk To Petropavlovsk, By way of Iliysk, And Novorossiysk, To Alexandrovsk to Akmolinsk To Tomsk to Omsk To Pinsk to Minsk To me the news will run, Yes, to me the news will run! And then I write By morning, night, And afternoon, And pretty soon My name in Dnepropetrovsk is cursed, When he finds out I published first! And who made me a big success And brought me wealth and fame? Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy! Nicolai Ivanovich Lobache... I am never forget the day my first book is published. Every chapter I stole from somewhere else. Index I copy from old Vladivostok telephone directory. This book, this book was sensational! Pravda - ah, Pravda - Pravda said: (Russian double-talk) It stinks. But Izvestia! Izvestia said: (Russian double-talk) It stinks. Metro-Goldwyn-Moskva bought the movie rights for six million rubles, Changing title to 'The Eternal Triangle', With Brigitte Bardot playing part of hypotenuse. And who deserves the credit? And who deserves the blame? Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky is his name. Oy!
This type of song also has what is known technically in music as a modal tune, which means - for the benefit of any layman who may have wandered in this evening - that I play a wrong note every now and then, I think I might add... (piano)
This song though does differ strikingly from the genuine folk ballad in that in this song the words which are supposed to rhyme - actually do. (piano) I, ah, I really should say that - I do not direct these remarks against the vast army of folk song lovers, but merely against that peculiar hard core who seem to equate authenticity with artistic merit and illiteracy with charm. (piano)
Oh - one more thing. One of the more important aspects of public folk singing is audience participation, and this happens to be a good song for group singing. So if any of you feel like joining in with me on this song, I'd appreciate it if you would leave - right now.
About a maid I'll sing a song, Sing rickety-tickety-tin, About a maid I'll sing a song, Who didn't have her fam'ly long. Not only did she do them wrong, She did ev'ryone of them in, them in, She did ev'ryone of them in. One morning in a fit of pique, Sing rickety-tickety-tin, One morning in a fit of pique, She drowned her father in the creek. The water tasted bad for a week, And we had to make do with gin, with gin, We had to make do with gin. Her mother she could never stand, Sing rickety-tickety-tin, Her mother she could never stand, And so a cyanide soup she planned. The mother died with the spoon in her hand, And her face in a hideous grin, a grin, Her face in a hideous grin. She set her sister's hair on fire, a-Rickety-tickety-tin, She set her sister's hair on fire, And as the smoke and flame rose high'r, Danced around the funeral pyre, Playin' a violin, -olin, Playin' a violin. She weighted her brother down with stones, a-Rickety-tickety-tin, She weighted her brother down with stones, And sent him off to Davy Jones. All they ever found were some bones, And occasional pieces of skin, of skin, Occasional pieces of skin. One day when she had nothing to do, Sing rickety-tickety-tin, One day when she had nothing to do, She cut her baby brother in two, And served him up as an Irish stew, And invited the neighbors in, -bors in, Invited the neighbors in. And when at last the police came by, Sing rickety-tickety-tin, And when at last the police came by, Her little pranks she did not deny. To do so she would have had to lie, And lying, she knew, was a sin, a sin, Lying, she knew, was a sin. My tragic tale I won't prolong, Rickety-tickety-tin, My tragic tale I won't prolong, And if you do not enjoy my song, You've yourselves to blame if it's too long, You should never have let me begin, begin, You should never have let me begin.
I always will remember, 'Twas a year ago November, I went out to hunt some deer On a morning bright and clear. I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow: Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow. I was in no mood to trifle, I took down my trusty rifle And went out to stalk my prey. What a haul I made that day! I tied them to my fender, and I drove them home somehow: Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow. The law was very firm, it Took away my permit, The worst punishment I ever endured. It turned out there was a reason, Cows were out of season, And one of the hunters wasn't insured. People ask me how I do it, And I say "There's nothin' to it, You just stand there lookin' cute, And when something moves, you shoot!" And there's ten stuffed heads in my trophy room right now: Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a pure-bred Guernsey cow.
I really have a yen To go back once again, Back to the place where no one wears a frown, To see once more those super-special just plain folks In my home town. No fellow could ignore The little girl next door, She sure looked sweet in her first evening gown. Now there's a charge for what she used to give for free In my home town. I remember Dan, the druggist on the corner, he Was never mean or ornery, He was swell. He killed his mother-in-law and ground her up real well, And sprinkled just a bit Over each banana split. The guy that taught us math, Who never took a bath, Acquired a certain measure of renown, And after school he sold the most amazing pictures In my home town. That fellow was no fool Who taught our Sunday School, And neither was our kindly Parson Brown - (We're recording tonight, so I'll have to leave this line out.) In my home town. I remember Sam, he was the village idiot, And though it seems a pity, it Was so. He loved to burn down houses just to watch the glow, And nothing could be done, Because he was the mayor's son. The guy that took a knife And monogrammed his wife, Then dropped her in the pond and watched her drown. Oh, yes indeed, the people there are just plain folks In my home town.
This particular example is called When You Are Old And Grey, and I'd like to dedicate it to anyone in the audience who is still in love with each other.
Since I still appreciate you, Let's find love while we may. Because I know I'll hate you When you are old and grey. So say you love me here and now, I'll make the most of that. Say you love and trust me, For I know you'll disgust me When you're old and getting fat. An awful debility, A lessened utility, A loss of mobility Is a strong possibility. In all probability I'll lose my virility And you your fertility And desirability, And this liability Of total sterility Will lead to hostility And a sense of futility, So let's act with agility While we still have facility, For we'll soon reach senility And lose the ability. Your teeth will start to go, dear, Your waist will start to spread. In twenty years or so, dear, I'll wish that you were dead. I'll never love you then at all The way I do today. So please remember, When I leave in December, I told you so in May.
Do you remember the night I held you so tight, As we danced to the Wiener Schnitzel Waltz? The music was gay, and the setting was Viennese, Your hair wore some roses (or perhaps they were peonies), I was blind to your obvious faults, As we danced 'cross the scene To the strains of the Wiener Schnitzel Waltz. Oh, I drank some champagne from your shoe, la l-la. I was drunk by the time I got through, la l-la. For I didn't know as I raised that cup, It had taken two bottles to fill the thing up. It was I who stepped on your dress, la l-la. The skirts all came off, I confess, la l-la. Revealing for all of the others to see Just what it was that endeared you to me... I remember the night I held you so tight, As we danced to the Wiener Schnitzel Waltz. Your lips were like wine (if you'll pardon the simile), The music was lovely and quite Rudolf Friml'y. I drank wine, you drank chocolate malts, And we both turned quite green To the strains of the Wiener Schnitzel Waltz.
I hold your hand in mine, dear, I press it to my lips. I take a healthy bite From your dainty fingertips. My joy would be complete, dear, If you were only here, But still I keep your hand As a precious souvenir. The night you died I cut it off, I really don't know why. For now each time I kiss it I get bloodstains on my tie. I'm sorry now I killed you, For our love was something fine, And till they come to get me I shall hold your hand in mine.You know, of all the songs I have ever sung, that is the one I've had the most requests not to.
I have time for one more here. This one is a little song dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America. [applause] We seem to have a convention here tonight. The Boy Scouts of America, those noble little... bastions of democracy, and the American Legion of tomorrow. Their motto is... I would like to state at this time that I am not now and have never been... a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Their motto is, as you know, Be Prepared! and that is the name of this song.
Be prepared! That's the Boy Scouts' marching song, Be prepared! As through life you march along. Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well. Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell. Be prepared! To hide that pack of cigarettes. Don't make book if you cannot cover bets. Keep those reefers hidden where you're sure that they will not be found, And be careful not to smoke them when the scoutmaster's around, For he only will insist that they be shared, be prepared! Be prepared! That's the Boy Scouts' solemn creed, Be prepared! And be clean in word and deed. Don't solicit for your sister, that's not nice, Unless you get a good percentage of her price. Be prepared! And be careful not to do Your good deeds when there's no one watching you. If you're looking for adventure of a new and different kind, And you come across a Girl Scout who is similarly inclined, Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared. Be prepared!
Eike Krömer Institut für Theoretische Physik email@example.com Universität Hannover "...but plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize, only be sure to always call it please - research" (Tom Lehrer: Lobachevsky)