Bob Dorough in the 80s at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay, CA; Photo: Brian McMillen via Wikipedia

Legendary musician and songwriter of ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ fame, Bob Dorough, passed away Monday of natural causes at his home in Mount Bethel, Pa.

Dorough may not be a household name, but almost everyone has heard his music. Dorough wrote the compositions and lyrics to the Multiplication Rock math series and two of the most widely recognized Grammar Rock songs including the endearing “Conjunction Junction” and “Lolly, Lolly Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here.”

For a legion of pre-internet youngsters, those songs helped make math and grammar easy to understand; the casual lyrics and upbeat compositions enthralling both kids and adults alike.

Dorough, a World War II veteran, studied composition and piano at the University of North Texas, and graduated in 1949. His passion for education inspired his music, and left an indelible mark on popular culture; his vision still celebrated today as a way to make learning both fun and engaging.

Dorough is lauded for his work with kids, but what many don’t know is that he had a profound influence on hip-hop too. Most notably De La Soul who sampled the chorus to “Three is A Magic Number” for the “The Magic Number” off the classic album 3 Feet High and Rising. “The Magic Number” proved to be a breakout song for De La Soul, kick-starting a career that has now spanned over 30 years.

Most recently Bishop Nehru flipped Dorough’s “Little Twelvetoes” for “Mean the Most” off of NehruvianDOOM. That’s over 40 years between songs, a testament to Dorough’s skills. Multiplication Rock is a producer’s gold mine, and there are enough funky breaks on it to keep beatmakers happy for generations.

Dorough’s passing has touched numerous people from all walks of life, and his legacy will continue on with the next generation of education enthusiasts and beat diggers. Easily one of the most overlooked songwriters of all time.