Bob Dorough, Jazz Musician Best Known For 'Schoolhouse Rock!,' Dead At 94

  • Bob Dorough, Jazz Musician Best Known For 'Schoolhouse Rock!,' Dead At 94

Bob Dorough, Jazz Musician Best Known For 'Schoolhouse Rock!,' Dead At 94

He was one of the primary musicians used in the "Schoolhouse Rock" short films that aired between Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s and '80s.

Born in Arkansas and raised in Texas, Dorough fell in love with music after joining the band at his high school in Plainview, Texas.

In addition to writing and performing for Schoolhouse Rock! He began his musical career serving as a composer, arranger and player in the Special Services Army Band between 1943 and 1945.

According to his biography, Dorough chose to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of North Texas before heading off to New York City in hopes of making it big.

Dorough turned that concept into a ditty called "Three Is a Magic Number", and it became the first step for a project first known as "Multiplication Rock" and, later, "Schoolhouse Rock".

"I got the idea that three is a magic number", Dorough told NPR's Rachel Martin in 2013.

Dorough himself continued to play live for the rest of his life - at 92, Dorough performed "Devil May Care" for member station WBGO - and as recently as three weeks ago in upstate NY. His first album as a bandleader, 1956's Devil May Care, attracted the attention of the legendary Miles Davis, and the two went on to record "Nothing Like You" and "Blue Xmas" together, both composed by and featuring vocals from Dorough. "But he was a very unapproachable cat". You taught millions of kids (most of whom still remember the words) and your music lives on. "Years later, I was in L.A., and one of my friends related to me that he actually heard my LP when he was in town doing a three-week engagement, so I took her to the club and met him there, and we became pals for a minute".

Watch a few of Bob's most famous Schoolhouse Rock clips, and listen to '90s indie rock tribute Schoolhouse Rocks Rocks (with Pavement, The Lemonheads, Biz Markie and more), below. As he put it to the Inquirer, he "stumbled into that gig".

"Just about every concert we did we would do some 'Schoolhouse Rock!' because people enjoyed it", Steve Berger, Mr. Dorough's longtime guitarist, said in a telephone interview.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.