The album—which included the macabre "I Hold Your Hand in Mine", the mildly risqué "Be Prepared", and "Lobachevsky" (regarding plagiarizing mathematicians) became a cult success via word of mouth, despite being self-published and without promotion. Lehrer embarked on a series of concert tours and recorded a second album, which was released in two versions: the songs were the same, but More of Tom Lehrer was studio-recorded while An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer was recorded live in concert. In 2013, Lehrer recalled the studio sessions:
"The copyist arrived at the last minute with the parts and passed them out to the band... And there was no title on it, and there was no lyrics. And so they ran through it, 'what a pleasant little waltz'... And the engineer said, '"Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,' take one," and the piano player said, '"What?"' and literally fell off the stool."
And one of the finest stanzas of all time:
I am never forget the day I am given first original paper to write. It
was on analytic and algebraic topology of locally Euclidean metrization
of infinitely differentiable Riemannian manifold.
This I know from nothing.
But I think of great Lobachevsky and I get idea - haha!