"The Slide Rule Song"
Words and music by Tom Lehrer

copyright (c) 1951

This recording is posted here with permission from Tom Lehrer, Prof. Norman Ramsey (who made the recording), and all the cast members who are still living. You are encouraged to download it for your own use, and to notify others of the URL (web address) for this page, or the more general URL of this site.

You may not post the recording elsewhere on the internet, nor sell copies, nor modify the recording. All other rights are reserved.

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Vocals and piano by Tom Lehrer. Technical notes on the recording.

Click here to learn more about slide rules

Introductory Dialog:
Professor (played by Lewis M. Branscomb):
Now to get on with the class --
I give you now the Section Man,
This friend of yours and mine'll
Offer you some very good advice about the final

Section Man (played by Robert A. Isaacs):
Be sure to bring your slide rules,
Don't forget them if you're sensible.
For if you use them wisely,
You'll find them indispensible.

The Slide Rule Song (sung by Robert A. Isaacs and the whole cast, piano by Tom Lehrer)

Don't bring the answers in on bits of paper,
And don't be crude and write them on your cuff:
The proctors would catch on to such a caper,
And you can bet they'd get you soon enough.

Yes, the proctors would catch on to such a caper
And you can bet they'd get you soon enough.

Don't write them on your thumbnail -- that's the worst place,
Don't write them in the lining of your hat:
You really shouldn't be here in the first place,
If you can't be more original than that.

No, you really shouldn't be here in the first place
If you can't be more original than that.

Against such things they have a justified rule,
They'd expel you without benefit of doubt.
But if you hide the answers in your slide rule,
It's eight-to-five that no one will find out.

Yes, if you hide the answers in your slide rule,
It's eight-to-five that no one will find out.

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