'Schoolhouse Rock' Composer Bob Dorough Dead At 94

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Bob Dorough, 'Schoolhouse Rock!' Performer and Writer, Dies at 94

Although he worked with greats like Miles Davis in the 1950s and '60s, it was in the early 1970s with "Schoolhouse Rock" that Dorough made his biggest pop culture impact.

Bob Dorough was 94 years old. Devil May Care was a document of loungey bebop, with Dorough's windy, charming and idiosyncratically accented singing of buoyant lyrics that hinted at his success to come.

While working a day job at an advertising company in 1971, Dorough's boss asked him to set multiplication tables to music and he penned the song "Three Is a Magic Number".

"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. "I learned, when performing at elementary schools, that they were 'getting through, ' so to speak, and the children would readily recognize my voice on such vocals as 'Three is a Magic Number, ' and others that I sang". That concept became the song "Three Is a Magic Number" and the project would become the Grammy-nominated Multiplication Rock.

Bob Dorough, the jazz musician who wrote numerous best-loved Schoolhouse Rock songs, has died at age 94.


From "Conjunction, Junction", to "I'm Just a Bill", Dorough's upbeat tunes helped educate thousands of viewers about simple math functions, rules of grammar and the legislative process.

The tribute album Schoolhouse Rock!

Dorough remained active all his life.

According to NRP, Dorough continued to perform until his death, and was survived by his wife, Sally Shanley Dorough.

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