Bob Dorough, 'Schoolhouse Rock!' songwriter, dies at 94


Dorough died of natural causes yesterday in his home in Mount Bethel at the age of 94, leaving behind a legacy that includes many classic "Schoolhouse Rock!" songs like "Conjunction Junction", "Three Is a Magic Number", "My Hero, Zero", and "Electricity, Electricity", as well as a catalog of influential jazz albums and even recordings with the legendary Miles Davis.

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

According to his biography, Dorough was a jazz musician who "set the multiplication tables to music" as musical director for the educational cartoon series between 1973 and 1985. 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.

Dorough's musical journey stemmed back to his teenage years, when he joined his Texas high school's band and then later played in a special services army band, where he honed his skill as an arranger, clarinetist, saxophonist, pianist, and overall entertainer.

Bob Dorough songs helped teach children about grammar and government on ABC's "Schoolhouse Rock".

Dorough ended up writing "Three's a Magic Number".

He later earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of North Texas and traveled to NY to work as a pianist and singer, releasing his debut album Devil May Care in 1956.

His first record, "Devil May Care", was released in 1956 via the New York-based Bethlehem Records. The title track was later recorded by MILES DAVIS, which has since become a jazz standard. "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".

Dorough continued performing, but in the 1990s started noticing adults were requesting the "Schoolhouse Rock" songs at his shows after they recognized his voice.