Jazz Artist-Turned-Schoolhouse Rocker Bob Dorough Passes

Jazz Artist-Turned-Schoolhouse Rocker Bob Dorough Passes

Bob Dorough performing at Joe's Pub in NY on March 9, 2014.

The ARKANSAS-born, TEXAS-raised DOROUGH was a composer, arranger and player in the Special Services Army Band before moving to NY to become a pianist and singer.

Dorough released his first album, Devil May Care, in 1956.

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Dorough, a jazz pianist and vocalist, wrote his first "Schoolhouse Rock" tune after a NY advertising executive approached him in 1971.

The 94 year old musician got his start in the NY jazz scene of the 1950s and '60s, but may be best known for his work for the educational cartoon series "Schoolhouse Rock!". An advertising executive got the idea when he saw how his son remembered song lyrics but not math. Dorough wrote "Three is a Magic Number" first and eventually wrote the entire Multiplication Rock collection.

"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.

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The Jazz musician was the musical director for the educational cartoon series between 1973 and 1985. 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. Dorough wrote and/or performed many of them, not including "I'm Just a Bill", which famously was spoofed on Saturday Night Live in 2014. He also wrote songs including "Conjunction Junction", "Verb", "The Shot Heard 'Round the World", and more.

Dorough remained active all his life.

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