Lyrics by Tom Lehrer

You can view a video of Lehrer performing "Pollution" on YouTube, which is now available on DVD. Years ago there was a superb professional video of this song synchronized with scenes of American pollution, but I haven't been able to find it since. But lots of folks have created home-made versions on YouTube of this hilarious song.

Time was when an American about to go abroad would be warned by his friends or the guidebooks not to drink the water. But times have changed and now a foreigner coming to this country might be offered the following advice.

      If you visit American city,
      You will find it very pretty.
      Just two things of which you must beware:
      Don't drink the water and don't breathe the air.

      Pollution, pollution,
      They got smog and sewage and mud.
      Turn on your tap and get hot and cold running crud.

      See the halibuts and the sturgeons
      Being wiped out by detergents.
      Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly,
      But they don't last long if they try.

      Pollution, pollution,
      You can use the latest toothpaste,
      And then rinse your mouth with industrial waste.

      Just go out for a breath of air,
      And you'll be ready for Medicare.
      The city streets are really quite a thrill.
      If the hoods don't get you, the monoxide will.

      Pollution, pollution,
      Wear a gas mask and a veil.
      Then you can breathe, long as you don't inhale.

      Lots of things there that you can drink,
      But stay away from the kitchen sink.
      The breakfast garbage that you throw in to the Bay,
      They drink at lunch in San Jose.

      So go to the city, see the crazy people there.
      Like lambs to the slaughter,
      They're drinking the water
      And breathing  the air. 

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Last update: November 21, 2010