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

Kevin Yatarola/Getty Images Bob Dorough, whose career began as a composer, arranger and singer in the booming New York jazz scene of the '50s and '60s before he became the musical keystone of Schoolhouse Rock!

Devil May Care was a document of loungey bebop, with Dorough's windy, charming and idiosyncratically accented singing of buoyant lyrics that hinted at his success to come.

As critic Ben Ratliff wrote in notes accompanying a vinyl reissue of Sorcerer last fall: "The trumpeter Leron Thomas recently told me that he thinks of it as Miles's version of a Looney Tunes move: 'That's All, Folks.'

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.

Expanding to cover grammar — Dorough's least-favorite subject to pen music on — American politics and history and science, the initial series ran for 12 years and was revived in the '90s.

"He was leaving Professor Pat Dorian's office at East Stroudsburg University — even in an academic setting, he glowed with health and good cheer, spreading sunshine wherever he went," McKay says.

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


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


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