Growing up in the early sixties, everyone in my home played his two 10-inch LP’s at least once a week. His weird humorous songs were so bizarre that, not yet into my teens, I thought I was listening to something clandestine — except that my parents loved him, too. Anyway, of late there’s been several articles about Lehrer (who is still alive, BTW) including this excellent one at BuzzFeed.
He’s also seemingly unconcerned about protecting his work — now, or after his death, as detailed at TechDirt:
While Lehrer has made startlingly little effort to ensure a future for his work, a handful of superfans have filled in the gap. One is Erik Meyn, a Norwegian who manages the Tom Lehrer Wisdom Channel on YouTube, a feed of performance videos and playlists that has received more than 10 million views since 2007. Meyn originally posted content to the channel without Lehrerâs permission and called him from overseas in December 2008 to apologize, a conversation he later posted on the âTom Lehrer!â Facebook page. An excerpt:
TL: Well, you see, Iâm fine with that channel.
EM: Youâre very kind. But my question is: Who in your family will take care of your copyright and your songs in the distant future?
TL: I donât have a family.
EM: OK, but what do you think will happen to the channel and your songs? And if you have someone who will act on your behalf, could you give them my name in case theyâd want the channel taken down?
TL: Yes, but thereâs no need to remove that channel.
EM: I was just wondering what will happen in the future, because youâre certainly going to continue to sell records.
TL: Well, I donât need to make money after Iâm dead. These things will be taken care of.
EM: I feel like I gave away some of your songs to public domain without even asking you, and that wasnât very nice of me.
TL: But Iâm fine with that, you know.
For those of you who are not acquainted with Tom Lehrer, here are a few of his works. Keep in mind that he wrote and performed these in the 50’s and 60’s: