Vocalist Bob Dorough Dies at the Age of 94


Bob Dorough (1923–2018)

(Photo: Courtesy bobdorough.com)

Bob Dorough, the jazz singer, pianist and arranger who reached generations of fans with his compositions for the Schoolhouse Rock! educational video series, has died. He was 94. NPR reported that he passed away on April 23 in Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania, according to his wife, Sally Shanley Dorough.

A native of Arkansas, Dorough played in a U.S. Army band during the early 1940s and later earned a bachelor of music degree from what now is the University of North Texas.

His debut album, Devil May Care, was released on the Bethlehem label in 1956. The title track became a widely recorded jazz standard. Other leader albums in his discography include Just About Everything (1966); Multiplication Rock (1973); Skabadabba (1987); a collaboration with Dave Frishberg released by Blue Note, Who’s On First? (2000); and But For Now, a Bob Dorough Trio album featuring Michael Hornstein, released by Enja in 2015.

Dorough famously provided the vocals for the version of “Nothing Like You” on Miles Davis’ 1967 album Sorcerer.

Among Dorough’s composition that were used in the Schoolhouse Rock! educational cartoons are “Conjunction Junction,” “Three Is A Magic Number,” “Electricity, Electricity” and “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here.”

Dorough continued performing concerts until shortly before his death.

DownBeat contributor Allen Morrison reviewed the singer’s Aug. 16, 2014, concert at Kitano in New York. To read this archival story, click here. DB

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