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Deteriorata is a comedy record released as a single in 1972. It is a parody of Les Crane's 1971 spoken word recording of Desiderata, the early 20th century poem by Max Ehrmann. (Desiderata is Latin for "desired things"; deteriorata is a portmanteau of the verb deteriorate and desiderata.

The parody was written by Tony Hendra for National Lampoon, and was recorded for the album Radio Dinner. Narrator Norman Rose read the "poem" and Melissa Manchester sang the song. Christopher Guest wrote the music.

Deteriorata appeared on the lower reaches of the Billboard magazine charts for a few weeks in late 1972. In addition, a printed version of the parody became one of National Lampoon's best-selling posters. The parody gained some significance and popularity as a frequent presentation on the Dr. Demento radio show.

Les Crane himself later admitted that he preferred the parody version over his Grammy-winning recording of the original poem.[1]

Cultural references[edit]

The song incorporates several catchphrases of the era:

  • "Remember the Pueblo", a bumper sticker slogan honoring the crew of the USS Pueblo, held hostage by North Korea in 1968
  • "Do not bend, fold, spindle or mutilate", a caution printed on punched cards in the mid 20th century
  • "Take heart amid the deepening gloom that your dog is finally getting enough cheese", making fun of a Gaines-Burgers dog food advertising campaign, which asked, "Is your dog getting enough cheese in his diet?"


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