Bob Dorough (1923 - 2018)



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Bob Dorough was his stage name. He was famous as Bob Dorough.
Birth name Robert Lrod Dorough
Born December 12, 1923 Cherry Hill, Arkansas, U.S.
Died April 23, 2018 (aged 94) Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genre: Jazz
Occupation: Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Piano
Years active 1940s–2018
Labels Bethlehem, Music Minus One, Capitol, 52e Rue Est, Red, Blue Note, Arbors, Candid
Associated acts Sam Most, Bill Takas, Dave Frishberg, Blossom Dearie
Website [external link]
Robert Lrod Dorough (December 12, 1923 – April 23, 2018), best known as Bob Dorough, was an American bebop and cool jazz vocalist, pianist, composer, songwriter, arranger and producer. Dorough became famous as the composer and performer of songs in the series Schoolhouse Rock!, as well as for his work with Miles Davis, Blossom Dearie, and others. Dorough's adventurous style influenced Mose Allison.
Robert Lrod Dorough was born in Cherry Hill, Polk County, Arkansas and grew up in Plainview, Texas. During World War II, he participated in Army bands as pianist, clarinetist, saxophonist, and arranger.[4] After that, he attended North Texas State University, where he studied composition and piano.
From 1949–1952 Dorough was a graduate student at Columbia University in New York City, and on the side played piano at local jazz clubs. He was hired for a tour by boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, who had interrupted his boxing career to pursue music. In Paris from 1954–1955 he worked as a musician and musical director, recording with jazz vocalist Blossom Dearie.
When Dorough returned to the United States, he moved to Los Angeles, where he performed in various clubs, including a job between sets by comedian Lenny Bruce. His first album, Devil May Care, came out in 1956 and contained a version of Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite" with lyrics added by Dorough. Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis liked the album, and in 1962 when Columbia Records asked Davis to make a Christmas record, he sought out Dorough to provide lyrics and vocals. Blue Xmas appeared on the compilation album Jingle Bell Jazz. During that session Dorough recorded another song for Davis, "Nothing Like You," which appeared a few years later at the end of the Sorcerer album, making Dorough one of the few musicians with a vocal performance on a Miles Davis record.
From 1972 to 1996, and for direct-to-video releases in 2002 and 2009, Dorough wrote and directed episodes of Schoolhouse Rock!, an educational animated series that appeared on TV.[7] He got the job when advertiser David McCall asked him in 1969 to put the multiplication tables to music, with "Three Is a Magic Number" earning him the job as the series' musical director. Dorough wrote all the songs for Multiplication Rock, the first of six eventual subject areas (the others being Grammar Rock, America Rock, Science Rock, Money Rock and Earth Rock, to which he also contributed songs and performances).
With his friend Ben Tucker, Dorough wrote the song "Comin' Home Baby", which gave Mel Tormé a Top 40 hit and two Grammy Award nominations. He was a partner for many years with Stuart Scharf, producing two albums for the folk-pop band Spanky and Our Gang and adding jazz arrangements to their sound.
Dorough was the vocalist for The 44th Street Portable Flower Factory, recording cover versions of popular music for Scholastic Records in the early 1970s.[8] Dorough remained with the show from 1973 to 1985.
From 1985 to 1993 he toured Europe several times with the saxophone player Michael Hornstein, bassist Bill Takas and drummer Fred Braceful.
Dorough worked with Nellie McKay on her 2007 album Obligatory Villagers as well as her 2009 release Normal as Blueberry Pie – A Tribute to Doris Day.
He continued to do occasional work intended for children. He wrote an illustrated book of Blue Xmas and three songs to accompany Maureen Sullivan's books about Carlos the French bulldog: Ankle Soup, Custard and Mustard and Christmas Feet.
Dorough died on April 23, 2018, at his home in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, at the age of 94.
Awards and honors
In 1974, Dorough received a Grammy nomination for Best Recording for Children.
In 1998, Dorough was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.
He received Artist of the Year at the 2002 Pennsylvania Governor's Awards for the Arts.
In December 2007, Dorough was honored by East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a Doctor of Fine Arts honorary degree.
In 2019, the Schoolhouse Rock! soundtrack was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
As leader
Devil May Care (Bethlehem, 1957)
Jazz Canto Vol. 1 (World Pacific, 1958)
The Medieval Jazz Quartet Plus Three (MMO/Classic Editions, 1961)
An Excursion Through "Oliver!": Songs from the Hit Show (Classic Jazz/Inner City, 1963)
Just About Everything (Focus/Evidence, 1966)
A Taste of Honey (Music Minus One, 1972)
Multiplication Rock (Capitol, 1973)
Beginning to See the Light with Bill Takas (Laissez-Faire, 1976)
Devil May Care II (52e Rue Est, 1982)
Sing and Swing with Bill Takas (Red, 1984)
Clankin' on Tin Pan Alley with Bill Takas (Bloomdido, 1986)
Songs of Love (Orange Blue, 1988)
Skabadabba (Pinnacle, 1987)
To Communicate (1987)
Formerly Not for Sale (1987)
This is a Recording (Laissez-Faire, 1990)
Wild Times at the Waterhole with Bernie Krause (Wild Sanctuary, 1991)
Memorial Charlie Parker with Bill Takas (Philology, 1992)
Right on My Way Home (Blue Note, 1997)
Too Much Coffee Man (Blue Note, 2000)
Who's On First? with Dave Frishberg (Blue Note, 2000)
Sunday at Iridium (Arbors, 2004)
The Houston Branch (CD Baby/Dees Bees, 2005)
Small Day Tomorrow (Candid, 2006)
The Devil's Best Tunes (Fingertips, 2011)
Duets (COTAjazz, 2012)
Eulalia (CD Baby/Merry Lane, 2014)
But For Now (Enja, 2015)
"Ankle Soup" (2011)
"Christmas Feet" (2011)
"Custard and Mustard" (2011)
"'P' is for the People" (2011)
As sideman or guest
Sam Most: Bebop Revisited, Vol. 3 (Xanadu, 1953)
Buddy Banks Quartet: Jazz in Paris – Buddy Banks/Bobby Jaspar – Jazz de Chambre (EmArcy, 1956)
Sam Most: Sam Most Plays Bird, Bud, Monk and Miles (Bethlehem, 1957)
Miles Davis: Facets (Columbia,1967)
Miles Davis: Sorcerer (Columbia, 1967)
Various: That's The Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonious Monk (A&M, 1984)
Harold Danko: Alone But Not Forgotten (Sunnyside, 1985/86)
John Zorn: Naked City: Grand Guignol (Avant, 1992)
Michael Hornstein: Innocent Gem (Enja, 1995)
Hoagy's Children, Vol. 1 (Audiophile, 1994)
Hoagy's Children, Vol. 2 (Audiophile, 1994)
Various: Jazzmass (COTA, 1995)
Blossom Dearie: I'm Hip (Columbia, 1998)
Various: The Reasons for Christmas Project (PATH, 2003)
Nellie McKay: Obligatory Villagers (Vanguard, 2007)
Nellie McKay: Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day (Verve Records, 2009)
Various Artists: Jazz Canto Vol. 1 (an anthology of poetry and jazz) (Righteous, 2009)

Bob Dorough Biography & Family History

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Bob Dorough was also known as:

Robert Dorough


in Perry County, Arkansas United States


on in Mount Bethel, Northampton County, Pennsylvania United States

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1923 - In the year that Bob Dorough was born, the Teapot Dome scandal became the subject of an investigation by Senator Walsh and severely damaged the reputation of the Harding administration. Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall was convicted of accepting bribes from oil companies and became the first Cabinet member to go to prison. At the time, the Teapot Dome scandal was seen as "greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics".

1940 - Bob was 17 years old when on July 27th, the cartoon character Bugs Bunny debuted in his first film A Wild Hare - voiced by Mel Blanc. He has since appeared in more short films, feature films, compilations, TV series, music records, comic books, video games, award shows, amusement park rides, and commercials than any other cartoon character. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "What's up, Doc?"

1954 - He was 31 years old when on May 17th, the Supreme Court released a decision on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The ruling stated that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional thus paving the way for integration in schools.

1964 - Bob was 41 years old when on June 11th, activist Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa for conspiring to overthrow the state (because of his numerous anti-apartheid activities). He served 27 years in prison.

1983 - He was 60 years old when "crack" cocaine was developed in the Bahamas and spread to the United States. Previously, cocaine had been cut with other substances, diluting it. Crack was 80% pure and therefore was more addictive. It was also cheaper, making it more easily available to low income neighborhoods.

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Bob Dorough, Jazz Musician Best Known For 'Schoolhouse Rock!,' Dead At 94
April 24, 201811:07 AM ET
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!, died Monday afternoon in Mt. Bethel, Penn., his wife, Sally Shanley Dorough, confirmed to NPR. He was 94.
The Arkansas-born, Texas-raised Dorough began working in music in the army, serving as a composer, arranger and player in the Special Services Army Band between 1943 and '45, before getting a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas. In the late '40s, Dorough made his way to New York, working there as a pianist and singer.
He released his debut album, Devil May Care, in 1956 on Gus Wildi's Bethlehem label, also home to Nina Simone's first album. 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. "In a dream / the strangest and oddest things / appear / and what insane insane and silly things / we do," he sang on "I Had the Craziest Dream."
Not long after the release of Devil May Care, the legendary Miles Davis recorded his own interpretation of its title track, which would go on to become a jazz standard.
Dorough collaborated with Davis on the serrated holiday song "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)" and later sang on "Nothing Like You," the closing track of Davis' 1967 album Sorcerer. 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.' "
Then, in 1971, with the jazz money running thin, Dorough was asked by his boss at the advertising company where he had a day job to set the multiplication tables to music; his boss cited his children's ability to remember Hendrix and Rolling Stones lyrics, but not their school lessons.
"I got the idea that three is a magic number," Dorough told NPR's Rachel Martin in 2013. "Then I looked in the magic book and sure enough, three is one of the magic numbers." That concept became the song "Three Is a Magic Number" and the project would become the Grammy-nominated Multiplication Rock. Originally intended as a school workbook, the concept was pitched and sold to ABC executive Michael Eisner, becoming the first of the long-running Schoolhouse Rock! series of educational cartoons that became an all-but inseparable part of of '70s and '80s childhood.
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.
The tribute album Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks, recorded by indie artists that had no doubt grown up watching the series, was released in 1996. It featured reinterpretations of the now-famous tunes, including Dorough compositions "Conjunction Junction" (Better Than Ezra), "Three Is a Magic Number" (Blind Melon), "Electricity, Electricity" (Goodness) and "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here" (Buffalo Tom).
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. "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.
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 New York.

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