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The Best & Worst of Tom Lehrer

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Album Review

Rhino's three-disc box set The Remains of Tom Lehrer presents 75 tracks from the satirist's four decade career. The first disc concentrates on Lehrer's studio output, including pieces from his 1953 debut Songs by Tom Lehrer and his 1959 album More of Tom Lehrer, as well as a 1996 version of "I Got It from Agnes" and "That's Mathematics," a previously unreleased track from 1993. Disc two gathers his '59 performances at MIT and Harvard, captured on the albums Tom Lehrer Revisited and An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer (which offered many of the same selections as their studio predecessors). The third disc is a mix of live and studio tracks, including the material from the album That Was the Year That Was, songs written for PBS's The Electric Company in 1971-72, orchestral versions of songs conducted by Richard Hayman in 1960, and four new songs, including "Selling Out" and "(I'm Spending Hanukkah) In Santa Monica." Song-by-song notes by Lehrer, rare photos, and an essay by Dr. Demento add an extra depth to The Remains of Tom Lehrer making it the ultimate collection of his irreverent social commentary.


Born: 09 April 1928 in New York, NY

Genre: Comedy

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Tom Lehrer was one of comedy's great paradoxes -- a respected Harvard mathematics professor by day, he also ranked among the foremost song satirists of the postwar era, recording vicious, twisted parodies of popular musical trends which proved highly influential on the "sick comedy" revolution of the '60s. Despite an aversion to the press and a relatively small recorded output, Lehrer became a star, although he remained an enigma to even his most ardent fans; he rarely toured, never allowed his photo...
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The Best & Worst of Tom Lehrer, Tom Lehrer
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