Magic Numbers

Edited to add: I intentionally didn’t look at any music blogs to see if or what they wrote about Bob Dorough before I did my thing here; that may have been an error. If I’d read Len O’Kelly’s take (he also links to “Lolly”), I might not have bothered with this.  Go to his site–his post is great.

Amy and I spent many a Saturday morning in the mid 70s watching cartoons. Favorites included Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and Looney Tunes, with helpings of shows like Hong Kong Phooey and The Pink Panther thrown in. When we had it on ABC, I usually enjoyed the three-minute Schoolhouse Rock pieces that played between shows. Those came back to mind yesterday when I learned of Monday’s passing of Bob Dorough, who wrote many of the songs featured in Multiplication Rock, Grammar Rock, and America Rock segments. He also sang most of his compositions, so his is definitely a voice of my childhood!

The Multiplication Rock shorts came out in early 73, Grammar Rock six-to-twelve months later, and America Rock in 75-76. (I’d already gotten too old by the time Science Rock was introduced a couple years beyond that). I mostly remember the Grammar ones. “Interjections,” which Dorough didn’t write, is my favorite. Among those he did pen, I most enjoy “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here,” “Three Is a Magic Number” (more meaningful to me now since we have just one child), and the haunting metaphysics—“that’s a circle that turns ‘round upon itself”—of “Figure Eight” (sung by the inimitable Blossom Dearie).

I got the Schoolhouse Rock DVD when Ben was fairly young, but these songs indubitably mean much more to me than to him.

Thanks to you, Mr. Dorough, for all the fun, educational diversions you created, and rest in peace.

One thought on “Magic Numbers”

  1. I know “Three Is A Magic Number” is about a couple having a kid (such as yourself) but I’ve always associated it with having three kids because my wife didn’t want 5-10-15-20-25-30-35-40-45-50-55-60-65-70-75-80-85-90-95-100 (from Ready Or Not, Here I Come)


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