Culture

‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ Songwriter And Jazz Legend Bob Dorough Dies At 94

by Tod Perry

April 25, 2018

It was impossible to be a child in America during the 1970s and ’80s and not know the words to the “Schoolhouse Rock!” songs. On Saturday mornings, ABC ran short educational cartoons featuring songs such as “Conjunction Junction,” “Three Is a Magic Number,” “The Shot Heard Round the World,” and “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here.”

Sadly, the man who wrote the aforementioned songs, Bob Dorough, passed away on April 23, 2018, at the age of 94. 

Dorough was born in Arkansas and raised in Texas. He began working on music in the Army and released his debut album, “Devil May Care,” in 1956. The album’s title song was later covered by jazz legend Miles Davis. Dorough and Davis also worked together on the songs “Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)” in 1962 and “Nothing Like You” in 1967.  

In 1971, Dorough was approached by an ad agency to write a song about multiplication tables. Dorough wrote the song “Three Is a Magic Number,” which was intended for an educational project known as “Multiplication Rock.” The project was redubbed “Schoolhouse Rock!” after being purchased by ABC executive Michael Eisner. 

Dorough contributed to “Schoolhouse Rock!” in its various incarnations from 1972 to 2009, and he was featured on more than two dozen records in his lifetime.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to Dorough’s passing.

Here’s Dorough playing “Devil May Care” at the age of 92.

Share image via Richard Newhouse/Wikimedia Commons and Disney Educational Productions/YouTube.

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‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ Songwriter And Jazz Legend Bob Dorough Dies At 94