'Schoolhouse Rock' Creator-Songwriter Bob Donough Dies At 94

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"Schoolhouse Rock" founder Bob Dorough has died at the age of 94 on Monday.

Born in Cherry Hill, Ark., on December 12, 1923, Dorough grew up in Texas, where he first learned how to play music.

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He also wrote the song "Devil May Care", which jazz great Miles Davis recorded as an instrumental version. Although Dorough began his career as a composer and jazz musician, his most well-known work came during his tenure as musical director of ABC's "Schoolhouse Rock!".

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. That led to Donough's classic first Schoolhouse Rock song, "Three Is a Magic Number", which is remembered for its brilliant simplicity and sticky chorus that counted to 36 by threes, accompanied by animation. 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. Two more segments were produced in 2002, and the series ended in 2009 with Earth Rock, a 12-song home video for which Dorough wrote or co-wrote four numbers. Rocks, recorded by indie artists that had no doubt grown up watching the series, was released in 1996.

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Later in life, Dorough became a mentor to the British-American singer, actress and comedian Nellie McKay, whom he first met in 1997, McKay tells NPR.

Dorough himself continued to play live for the rest of his life - at 92, Dorough performed "Devil May Care" for member station WBGO - and as recently as three weeks ago in upstate NY.

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