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'Schoolhouse Rock' founder Bob Dorough dead at 94

28 April 2018

Bob Dorough, the jazzman who created the clever and enduring Schoolhouse Rock toons that taught grammar, math, science, and citizenship to a generation of TV-watching kids, has died.

"Schoolhouse Rock" premiered on January 13, 1973, and ran on ABC from 1973-1985. In the late '40s, Dorough made his way to NY, working there as a pianist and singer.

Jazz composer singer BOB DOROUGH, who became the musical force of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK!, died MONDAY afternoon in MT. BETHEL, PA, at the age of 94, NPR reports.

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In the 1970s, Dorough began working on an educational album called "Multiplication Rock", which was then pitched to ABC and eventually took the form of animated shorts known as "Schoolhouse Rock!".

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

"I got the idea that three is a magic number", Dorough told NPR's Rachel Martin in 2013. "I learned, when performing at elementary schools, that they were 'getting through, ' so to speak, and the children would readily recognize my voice on such vocals as 'Three is a Magic Number, ' and others that I sang".

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"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. "Lou Reed's idea of hell would be to sit in heaven with Bob Dorough", McKay says, referencing the famously cantankerous NY rocker.

According to NRP, Dorough continued to perform until his death, and was survived by his wife, Sally Shanley Dorough.

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'Schoolhouse Rock' founder Bob Dorough dead at 94