"Lobachevsky"
Words and music by Tom Lehrer

copyright (c) 1951

This song is available on any of the Tom Lehrer albums shown below.

Trivia from Tom Lehrer: "I spoke no Russian (and still speak none), and it was Munro Edmonson who taught me (phonetically) the Russian phrase I used in 'Lobachevsky' regarding going where even the Tsar goes on foot...I've used various Russian expressions on the various recordings. On the first (the 1953 10-inch), the first phrase was the first line of Mussorgsky's Song of the Flea, with which I was already familiar and which Ed taught me how to pronounce. It means 'once there was a king who had a pet flea.' The second says 'now I go [or I must go] where even the Tsar goes on foot.' A reference, of course, to the bathroom. As I said, Ed knew this expression and passed it on to me when I was looking for a Russian phrase. In later recordings I used, instead of the flea reference, a line from 'Meadowlands,' a Russian song well known in the 40s, popularized by the Red Army Chorus. It means something like 'hail the mighty Red Army.' "

If you haven't yet bought Lehrer's 3-CD set, you should. This is the best $45 you'll spend this month. Not only does it include virtually all his songs, all the lyrics, all his wonderful original liner notes, and several songs not available on any other albums, but it also has a great biography (with many quotes from Lehrer) and comic-strip illustrations of two of his songs from Mad Magazine. (Click the image to purchase from Amazon.com.)
However, if you're feeling cheap, "Lobachevsky" is on the album shown at right (click image to purchase from Amazon.com).
Sheet music for almost all of his songs, including "Lobachevsky" is in this book (click image to purchase from Amazon.com).

 

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Background image: covers from some of Tom Lehrer's albums