"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.[1] The parody gained some significance and popularity as a frequent presentation on the Dr. Demento radio show.[2][3]

Les Crane himself later admitted that he preferred the parody version over his Grammy-winning recording of the original poem.[4]

Cultural references

The song incorporates several catchphrases and news items of the era:


  1. ^ The Hot 100 Chart||Billboard
  2. ^ Dr. Demento's TOP 100 (or so) DEMENTED HITS (from Funny 25’s) - 1974 to 2020
  3. ^ Dementia 2000! : Dr. Demento's 30th anniversary collection - WorldCat.org
  4. ^ James Bates (April 21, 1987). "Ex-TV Host Scores With Computer Game: Les Crane, Once a Rival to Johnny Carson, Is a Hit in Software". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 8, 2005.
  5. ^ Editors, History com. "USS Pueblo captured". history.com.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Dundes, Alan; Pagter, Carl R. (1987). "The Writing on the Walls: Notices, Mottoes, and Awards". When You're Up to Your Ass in Alligators: More Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire. Wayne State University Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0814318676.