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That Was the Year That Was Live

4.8 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1965, to be exact, when the Hah-vahd Professor issued such belly-laughin' broadsides as Pollution; Send in the Marines; National Brotherhood Week; The Vatican Rag, and more.

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Harvard-educated mathematician by trade and sociopolitical humorist and satirist by avocation, ivory tickler Tom Lehrer sang irreverent ditties that both outraged and delighted listeners during his on-again, off-again heyday of public performance in the late 1950s through the 1970s. Perhaps best known for his "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," Lehrer combined razor-sharp wit with dry delivery inspired by everything from vaudeville and ragtime to whimsical show tunes and faux folk. Though a tad dated, Lehrer's wickedly pointed That Was the Year That Was is as good a representation of the mid-'60s American social and political climate as any. Recorded live in 1965 and composed largely of songs from the contemporaneous NBC series That Was the Week That Was, the album takes on boho Americana ("The Folk Song Army"), censorship ("Smut"), and the atomic bomb ("Who's Next"). Devilishly funny as well are the outstanding "Vatican Rag" and the puzzle that is "New Math." --Paige La Grone
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 12, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • Run Time: 37 minutes
  • ASIN: B000002KO7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,746 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After hearing "An Evening (Wasted) With Tom Lehrer," I thought, "Whoa! This is funny as hell! It just can't get better than this!" Well, it can. The bottom line is, if you did not enjoy An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer, you will certainly, undeniably, and most definitely not enjoy "That Was The Year That Was." Of the three albums released by this maniac this is unquestionably the best.
Last year, I took a course at school titled Western Civilization. During the last half of the year, we discussed the majority of the events that Mr. Lehrer sings about on this album (one of my teacher's lessons included in our World War II unit even contained a lecture of which countries "got the bomb, and that was okay, 'cause the balance of power is maintained that way, who's next?"). The background information I gathered through this course helped me to better understand the lyrics to the songs, thereby making me roll on the floor laughing my posterior end (I am writing this on a school computer and therefore can't say the "correct" word) off. "National Brotherhood Week" has become an anthem for my CD player, as have "So Long Mom (A Song For World War III)", "New Math", and my very most personal favorite, "The Vatican Rag."
So, calling all comedy, music, and political satire fans everywhere--if you've got some spare time you are just dying to waste, check it out!"
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Format: Audio CD
I recall listening the songs of Tom Lehrer while I was in junior high school and how we would annoy the teachers by singing the 'elements' song on school field trips. After graduating from high school, Tom Lehrer was always in the background thanks to the talented DJ's of a local radio station. But it was not until the Beirut tragedy that I really stopped to think about Dr. Lehrer. This is not to be considered disrespectful of those that were ordered into Lebanon. Not long after those Marines were killed, I pulled out my LP and listened to it, really listened to it. His songs were still as potent and relevent 16 years after he recorded them. Besides the Marines, Hubert Humphery had recently died, pollution was the big topic what with the fairly recent removal of lead from gasoline, the question of did Isreal really have the bomb? (They did, and South Africa would soon have one as well.) And President Reagan was walking a fine line between peace and WW III, forcing the Soviet's hand in Europe that would bring the Berlin Wall crashing down by the end of the decade. I have played this and every other Tom Lehrer song to my family, to my friends, and to my neighbors. We all agree, 33 years later, this is still, one must have CD. Major Michael K. La Violette, Armor, US Army.
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Format: Audio CD
I remember sitting in junior high school, singing Mr. Lehrer's songs in music class (I should mention that I went to private school). His music, though written a few decades ago,is still timely and still musical and outrageously funny. A review he often quotes from the New York Times: "Mr. Lehrer's muse is not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste." My own extremely Catholic grandmother cried in her laughter while listening to the "Vatican Rag." My boyfriend can't believe some of the lines in "National Brotherhood Week", a song which still applies to all such weeks in these less than brotherly United States. Tom Lehrer's music is well worth the twelve dollars requested here. END
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Format: Audio CD
Of the three classic Tom Lehrer albums, the material on "This Was The Year That Was" always struck me as being somehow different from the other two. Now as I have attained the pinnacle of wisdom I believe I have an explanation for my intuitive feeling: the songs on this album were written for the NBC television show "This Was The Week That Was" (affectionately known as TW3), which meant Lehrer was working with a deadline each week. Consequently, while I am impressed that he could come up with such ditties each week to help skewer the people in the headlines, I think that most of the songs contained within are not particularly memorable (e.g., "M.L.F. Lullaby," "George Murphy") although he does rhyme "commie" and "salami" in "So Long Mom," but you know some would never have been written if he had not needed a new song for that week's show (e.g., the overlong "Alma"). I also did not find Lehrer's pre- and post-song chatter about semi-current events to be as enjoyable as on the other albums where he is the subject under observation.
That being said I must acknowledge that this album does include three absolute classic gems from Lehrer. First, there is "New Math," the lyrics to which I have been inscribing on black boards in math classes for years, undeterred by the fact I was teaching English and they were not my classes rooms. Who knew numbers could be funny? Second, there is "Who's Next?", a witty look at the nuclear arms race that is as timely today as it was way back when and which popped up once on "Picket Fences" being sung by Douglas Waumbaugh ("for the Harvard-educated musician with the nimble fingers and glib tongue, your Honor. We plead not guilty.").
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