So long, Mom! Tom Lehrer...poet or prophet?

August 10, 2017


"Y'know, every great war produces its great hit songs and after each war we like to gather around the piano or the guitar and play these songs. We enjoy the songs because they remind us of how much we enjoyed the war.

Now, World War III is almost upon us as you know, by popular demand, it seems, and it occurred to me that if any songs are to come out of World War III we better start writing them now. So I have one here..."  

Tom Lehrer


For those of you who've never heard of the great Tom Lehrer, you're missing a rare treat...and I do mean rare. 


A retired American mathematics lecturer, he's also a musician, singer-songwriter and satirist. He's also lectured on musical theatre. He's best known, however, for the utterly brilliant songs he recorded back in the 1950s and 1960s. 


I thought it particularly apt, given the present state of world hostilities, to give him a mention. If you'd like to see him performing one of his best songs just click on the photo above. 


The lyrics - as relevant today as they were all those decades ago - are laid out below, but best just to watch the master in action. 


The Donald would do well to take heed, though I doubt he has the right sense of humour.

Or that he can even read.


'So long, mom!

I'm off to drop the Bomb
So don't wait up for me
But while you swelter
Down there in your shelter
You can see me
On your TV

While we're attacking frontally
Watch Brinkley and Huntley
Describing contrapuntally
The cities we have lost
No need for you to miss a minute
Of the agonizing holocaust

Little Johnny Jones
He was a US pilot
And no shrinking violet
Was he, he was mighty proud
When World War III was declared
He wasn't scared
No siree!

And this is what he said on
His way to Armageddon:

So long, mom!
I'm off to drop the Bomb
So don't wait up for me
But though I may roam
I'll come back to my home
Although it may be
A pile of debris

Remember, mommy!
I'm off to get a commie
So send me a salami
And try to smile somehow
I'll look for you
When the war is over
An hour and a half from now!




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