Thomas Andrew Lehrer (; born April 9, 1928) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, satirist, and mathematician, who later taught mathematics and musical theater. He recorded pithy and humorous songs that became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. His songs often parodied popular musical forms, though they usually had original melodies. An exception is "The Elements", in which he set the names of the chemical elements to the tune of the "Major-General's Song" from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Lehrer's early performances dealt with non-topical subjects and black humor in songs such as "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park". In the 1960s, he produced songs about timely social and political issues, particularly for the U.S. version of the television show That Was the Week That Was. The popularity of these songs has far outlasted their topical subjects and references. Lehrer quoted a friend's explanation: "Always predict the worst and you'll be hailed as a prophet." In the early 1970s, Lehrer largely retired from public performance to devote his time to teaching mathematics and musical theater history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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