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Thomas Andrew (Tom) Lehrer (born April 9, 1928) is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician.
As an undergraduate student at Harvard University, he began to write comic songs to entertain his friends, including "Fight Fiercely, Harvard" (1945). Those songs later became (in a joking reference to a leading scientific journal) The Physical Revue. Influenced mainly by musical theater, his style consisted of parodying the then-current forms of popular song. For example, his appreciation of list songs led him to set the names of the chemical elements to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Major General's Song".
Inspired by the success of his performances of his songs, he paid for some studio time to record an album, Songs by Tom Lehrer, which he sold by mail order. Self-published and unpromoted, the album, which included the macabre ("I Hold Your Hand In Mine"), the mildly risquÃ© ("Be Prepared"), and the mathematical ("Lobachevsky"), became a success via word of mouth. With a cult hit, he embarked on a series of concert tours and released a second album, which...