"A Liter and a Gram"
Words by Tom Lehrer

copyright (c) 1951
Tune: "A Bushel and a Peck” from Guys and Dolls, by Frank Loesser (1950)
Original lyrics

Because the original tune is under copyright, we are not posting the recording of the Physical Revue version here. However, you can get a good sense of how it goes by clicking the play button below, which plays a midi version of the tune. Midi sequencing by Eugene Hayak (edited by WFS)

Alternatively, you can start this video of the original, and listen along as you read the lyrics below.

Click here to learn more about the physics terms used in this song

Introductory dialog (spoken by Lew Branscomb):
I resent the implication that Physics lacks romance.
A physicist can make love too, if given half a chance.
For example, if he wants to tell of his devotion,
He can let this song express the units of his emotion:

Verse one (sung by Branscomb):
I love you, a liter and a gram
A liter and a gram, and it's crazy that I am,
A meter and a yard, and a Newton and a Watt,
A Newton and a Watt, and I wanna know a lot about you,
about you.

Chorus (sung by entire cast):
A meter and a liter
Nothin' could be sweeter

'Cause I love you, a liter and a gram
It's crazy that I am for you.

Verse two (sung by Lehrer):
I love you, a poundal and a dyne
A poundal and a dyne, and I wanna make you mine;
A foot-pound and an erg and a Joule and a cal'rie,
A Joule and a cal'rie, and I wanna spend my sal'ry
on you, on you.

Chorus: Centigrades and Fahrenheits
You lift me up to darin' heights

'Cause I love you, a poundal and a dyne
And I wanna make you mine, I do.

Click the image to purchase the album of the original broadway cast recording of "Guys and Dolls" from Amazon.com.

These lyrics were published in Physics Today, July 2005, p. 58.

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