Bob Dorough of 'Schoolhouse Rock' is dead at 94 - Hawaii News Now

26 April, 2018, 00:39 | Author: Rosalie Gross
  • Bob Dorough

Born in Arkansas, Dorough was able to make a living as a pianist and composer from the time he moved to NY in 1949.

In the 1970s, Dorough began working on an educational album called "Multiplication Rock", which was then pitched to ABC and eventually took the form of animated shorts known as "Schoolhouse Rock!". In the late '40s, Dorough made his way to NY, working there as a pianist and singer.

The song spawned the album Multiplication Rock and the concept was later sold to ABC executive Michael Eisner, ultimately becoming the first iteration of Schoolhouse Rock!.

He also wrote the song "Devil May Care", which jazz great Miles Davis recorded as an instrumental version. He performed all the multiplication songs, and collaborated on the history, science, and grammar songs.

In 1971, Dorough was working a day job at a NY advertising company when his boss asked him to set the multiplication tables to music, figuring if kids could remember rock lyrics, it might help them learn math, according to NPR. It was revived from 1993 to 1999. "Then I looked in the magic book and sure enough, three is one of the magic numbers". It featured reinterpretations of the now-famous tunes, including Dorough compositions "Conjunction Junction" (Better Than Ezra), "Three Is a Magic Number" (Blind Melon), "Electricity, Electricity" (Goodness) and "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here" (Buffalo Tom). Dorough would become the series' musical director, and the show was composed of many of his original songs such as "Three Is a Magic Number".

Later in life Dorough served as a mentor to British-American singer, actress and comedian Nellie McKay and continued to play music in the weeks leading up to his death.

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