I saw this on Twitter this morning via Paul and Storm, and had to put a post up:
Tom Lehrer has released all the lyrics to his songs into the public domain. https://t.co/ITSwUUw571
— Jason S. (@Jadasc) October 20, 2020
For many of us geeks who also intersect with music, Tom Lehrer is part of a comedy/music pantheon along with the likes of Allan Sherman and Weird Al, creating and performing amazingly-intelligent satirical songs about culture and politics beginning in the 1950s; most of which hold up to this day. I heard them first on the LPs my parents had lying around (and which I still have), and went on to learn many of the songs by heart, and even perform them in high-school cabarets (‘I think the loveliest time of the year is the Spring, I do, don’t you? ‘Course you do!’).
A close read of the statement at his website says that he’s releasing the lyrics for people to set against their own music, and will be releasing the music for tunes he personally wrote (rather than set against existing tunes) over time with other legal disclaimers. There are probably loads of rights issues to be sorted through, but this is a wonderful step, and any big Tom Lehrer fan should go and save the information to keep it alive; especially since he includes the ominous statement at the end: “This website will be shut down on December 31, 2024, so if you want to download anything, don’t wait too long.”