NY Times, 2/26—Tom Glazer, a folk singer and songwriter best known for his whimsical children’s songs—particularly one about a mountain of spaghetti—died on Friday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 88. Along with Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Josh White and Burl Ives, Mr. Glazer was a Big City folk singer, one of a loose coalition of performers who made folk music a national phenomenon in the 1940’s, presaging its commercial popularity in the 1960’s.
But his best-remembered achievement—though not Mr. Glazer’s favorite—was writing “On Top of Spaghetti,” a hit novelty song in 1963. Sung to the tune of “On Top of Old Smoky,” it featured a chorus of children singing lines like “On top of spaghetti all covered with cheese.” A wayward meatball is the star. Mr. Glazer’s formal debut came on Jan. 8, 1943, at Town Hall in Manhattan. In 1945 he started a show on ABC Radio, “Tom Glazer’s Ballad Box,” and in the 1960’s he was host of a weekly concert show for children on WQXR radio in New York. In 1957 he composed songs and background music for “A Face in the Crowd,” a film directed by Elia Kazan. His song “Talking Inflation Blues” was recorded by Bob Dylan on his “Minnesota Party Tape” in 1960.
Tom Glazer occasionally speculated about meeting St. Peter at the Pearly Gates and being asked what he accomplished in music. Mr. Glazer mumbles that he wrote “On Top of Spaghetti.” “Sorry, buster, you can’t enter,” the imagined St. Peter replies.