Published: Thu, April 26, 2018
Sci-tech | By Lila Blake

"Schoolhouse Rock" writer Bob Dorough dead at 94


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Jazz composer singer BOB DOROUGH, who became the musical force of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK!, died MONDAY afternoon in MT. BETHEL, PA, at the age of 94, NPR reports.

Dorough served in the Special Services Army Band during World War II, and earned a degree in music from the University of North Texas before moving to NY to become a pianist and singer. In the late '40s, Dorough made his way to NY, working there as a pianist and singer.


Dorough has also produced three albums with the prestigious jazz label, Blue Note Records. He released his debut album, Devil May Care, in 1956.

He told NPR back in 2013 that his boss approached him because his sons couldn't remember "their times tables - yet they sing along with Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones, and they get their words".

Dorough ended up writing "Three's a Magic Number". That concept became the song "Three Is a Magic Number" and the project would become the Grammy-nominated Multiplication Rock.


"Schoolhouse Rock" first premiered in 1973 and ran on ABC for 12 years.

"After the fully Dorough-penned Multiplication Rock, the series" contributors expanded to include Lynn Ahrens, Dave Frishberg (writer of "I'm Just a Bill") and George Newall, with Dorough staying on as musical director. He performed all the multiplication songs, and collaborated on the history, science, and grammar songs.

Dorough, a jazz pianist and vocalist, wrote his first "Schoolhouse Rock" tune after a NY advertising executive approached him in 1971. "Conjunction junction, what's your function?"


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