Schoolhouse Rock!'s Bob Dorough Dies At 94


"Not to unduly shame the American education system", People magazine began an article in 2016, "but chances are Bob Dorough has had more of an impact on grammar fluency than any other individual in the 20th century".

According to his biography, Dorough was a jazz musician who "set the multiplication tables to music" as musical director for the educational cartoon series between 1973 and 1985.

"Dorough collaborated with [Miles] Davis on the serrated holiday song "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)" and later sang on "Nothing Like You", the closing track of Davis" 1967 album Sorcerer.

Then-ABC executive Michael Eisner turned the songs into a series of animated videos that appeared between Saturday morning cartoon shows for 12 years.

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"I am not surprised at all [that the songs still resonate]", Dorough told CNN in 2013.

Born in Arkansas, Dorough was able to make a living as a pianist and composer from the time he moved to NY in 1949. He also periodically returned to his native Arkansas, most recently performing in May 2017 at the Central Arkansas Library System's Ron Robinson Theater. "Then I looked in the magic book and sure enough, three is one of the magic numbers". Some of the catchier songs he wrote and composed were "Three Is a Magic Number" and "Elementary, My Dear". Rocks, recorded by indie artists that had no doubt grown up watching the series, was released in 1996.

The tribute album Schoolhouse Rock! Dorough was the man behind the Schoolhouse Rock classics "Conjunction Junction", "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here", and many more. "He was leaving Professor Pat Dorian's office at East Stroudsburg University - even in an academic setting, he glowed with health and good cheer, spreading sunshine wherever he went", McKay says.

The death of Bob Dorough has many Schoolhouse Rock fans feeling nostalgic-even famous ones. After years of accompanying, conducting, arranging, and playing, he made his first recording as a leader (1956) for the Bethlehem label.DEVIL MAY CARE, having written the title tune three years earlier.