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'Schoolhouse Rock' composer Bob Dorough, RIP

25 April 2018
'Schoolhouse Rock' composer Bob Dorough, RIP

Some of the catchier songs he wrote and composed were "Three Is a Magic Number" and "Elementary, My Dear".

If you instantly start singing along, you're of that "Schoolhouse Rock" generation that learned lifelong lessons about civics, grammar, math and other school subjects through the catchy tunes and lyrics of musician Bob Dorough. That concept became the song "Three Is a Magic Number" and the project would become the Grammy-nominated Multiplication Rock.

Singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer Bob Dorough may not have been born in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but he was well-known and well-loved in the many years he spent here.

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

Then-ABC executive Michael Eisner turned the songs into a series of animated videos that appeared between Saturday morning cartoon shows for 12 years. After his service, he enrolled at the University of North Texas, where Dorough earned a music degree before moving to New York City in 1949 to pursue a life in the city's jazz scene.

Years later Dorough made his first recording, "Devil May Care", in 1956, which paved the way for a successful musical career.

He also wrote the song "Devil May Care", which jazz great Miles Davis recorded as an instrumental version.

"After the fully Dorough-penned Multiplication Rock, the series" contributors expanded to include Lynn Ahrens, Dave Frishberg (writer of "I'm Just a Bill") and George Newall, with Dorough staying on as musical director. "But he was a very unapproachable cat. 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".