Tom's Diner (song)

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Tom's Diner is an a cappella song written by Barnard student Suzanne Vega in 1982. The song is written as a simple first person vignette of a person stopping at an unnamed diner for a cup of coffee. Although Columbia is not explicitly named, many features familiar to residents of Morningside Heights are recognizable, such as passerby peeking into the large windows, the sound of bells from St. John the Divine in the grey morning air, and rushing to catch the 1 train. From these one can infer that the Tom's being referred to is Tom's Restaurant.

The song was the first musical track to be converted into MP3 format. Karlheinz Brandenburg, the inventor of MP3, used the song to test and fine tune his new digital format. Hence, electrical and computer engineers sometimes refer to Tom's Diner as the "Mother of the MP3".

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