Bob Dorough, Writer of "Schoolhouse Rock!" Songs, Died At 94

Bob Dorough, who wrote many songs for ABC's Schoolhouse Rock!, died yesterday at the age of 94. His granddaughter, Corin Wolf, told CNN that he had been diagnosed with cancer last year, but did not specify the cause of his death.

Dorough served in the Army's Band Unit. He played clarinet, saxophone, and piano, and he also arranged music. After, he received a bachelor's degree in music at the University of Texas.

He came out with his first album, Devil May Care, in 1956. Miles Davis even liked his music, choosing one of the compositions, "Blue Xmas," for a new label.

He was hired by David Macall to write songs in 1971 to help his son with multiplication tables. And so, "Three Is a Magic Number" was created.

 

 

The song worked so well it became a series in 1973, Schoolhouse Rock! Dorough wrote 11 songs about multiplication, and he sung must of them too. The topics then became wider: grammar, history, science. Other composers were hired too until the series ended in 1985.

"Even though [the songs] were in a 'rock' or 'pop' bag, my jazz sensibilities and the fine musicians I used for the audio recordings made the songs seem unusual to the Saturday morning cartoon listener," he said to CNN in 2013.

 

After the show stopped filming, Dorough continued with music. His most recent album, But for Now, was released in 2015.

"I sometimes say, the kids grow up and now they're [older]," he told Yahoo! "And they discover me again, playing at bars!...It was designed to educate but I attempted to write songs that would entertain anyone, from ages 2 to 92."