Bob Dorough of 'Schoolhouse Rock' dead at 94

Glen Norman
April 26, 2018

Dorough sang on it, and the pair teamed up again four years later for "Nothing Like You" from Davis' Sorcerer LP.

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 released his debut album, Devil May Care, in 1956. Two more segments were produced in 2002, and the series ended in 2009 with Earth Rock, a 12-song home video for which Dorough wrote or co-wrote four numbers.

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.

"In 1971 he received a commission to 'set the multiplication tables to music.' This led to a small industry, being the beginning of ABC-TV's 'Schoolhouse Rock, ' Saturday morning cartoons that entertained and instructed unsuspecting children during the years 1973-1985", Dorough's biography reads. Though the most popular are the songs from the 1970s run - devoted to grammar, multiplication, American history and science - the series was occasionally revived to look at such topics as computers, finance, and ecology. Miles Davis then invited Dorough to record with him after hearing the album, asking him to provide lyrics and vocals for a Christmas LP.

"I got the idea that three is a magic number", Dorough told NPR in 2013. "Other composers, such as Lynn Ahrens and George R. Newall, were later hired, while Dorough contributed such classics as "Conjunction Junction", "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here", 'The Shot Heard Round the World", "Mother Necessity" and "Electricity, Electricity".

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

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