If you remember listening to Dr. Demento on the radio quite a few years ago, Tom Lehrer's music might be familiar to you. In fact, the good doctor praised Lehrer as "the best musical satirist of the 20th century." I think the first of his songs I ever heard was "Be Prepared," a parody based on the Boy Scout motto (click on the green words to hear the song).
Be prepared! That's the Boy Scout's 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 it be shared.
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
Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared.
I could do a lot of research but found that Wikipedia has already done that for me. So, here's whatever you've ever wanted to know about Tom Lehrer. While you're reading, I'll concentrate on entertaining you with more of his songs, beginning with "National Brotherhood Week" and "When You Are Old and Gray."
Then we have the cheerful, "We Will All Go Together When We Go." I especially love how many times he changes keys.
If you're a Southerner and proud of it, you might wish to skip this one, "I Wanna Go Back to Dixie,"
Lehrer turned to writing music for children's television with songs for the PBS show, "The Electric Company, "which my daughters grew up watching.
Here's "Silent E"
Finally, a little ahead of time but you can save it for the end of the year, "A Christmas Carol."
I hope you enjoyed this short little romp through the satirical but fun world of Tom Lehrer.