Category Archives: Schoolhouse Rock

WayBack Wednesdays: Schoolhouse Rock

Quote of the Day: “Wave your little hand and whisper so long dearie…” — from Hello, Dolly!‘s “So Long Dearie”

On February 8, it was reported that Blossom Dearie had passed away. Dearie was a singer and songwriter who was known for a wispy, little-girl voice that nonetheless had a real power to it, so different it was than most of the other cabaret-bound, standard-singing voices around her. She was, to some, the personification of Downtown Hip, an real insider’s taste.

My introduction to Dearie came when I was about 8 years old, sitting in bed on Saturday morning, watching ABC cartoons. It was during the interstitial moments between shows (and commercials) that I was most entertained. Because that was when I discovered Schoolhouse Rock, the three minute shorts that educated kids on everything from grammar to government to gobbledygook of numbers.

If you’re anywhere around my age—creeping up on or just past the big 4-0—you know about Schoolhouse Rock: it’s probably where you learned how to recite the Preamble to the Constitution or what a Veto was or who invented the lightbulb. It didn’t take the place of school, but it sure made learning fun. (A memory: I remember being at a New Year’s Eve party at Dave and Cynthia’s in Brooklyn back in the 90s. Someone had found Dave’s VHS tape of Grammar Rock and by the third video, the bedroom was crammed with a bunch late-20s revelers, sipping Champagne, singing along with the tunes–and sharing Schoolhouse Rock memories…)

So in honor of Ms. Dearie, and to celebrate all of our lost youths, I present you three episodes of Schoolhouse Rock, all performed by Blossom Dearie…

1. “Figure Eight,” in which we learn how multiply numbers by 8. This, I think, is actually one of the best melodies written for the entire series.

2. “Unpack Your Adjectives,” in which we learn how enhance nouns with those words we “use to really describe things”…
3. “Mother Necessity,” in which Blossom is joined by pretty much all the Schoolhouse Rock singers to narrate the history of the world’s greatest inventions.
What were your favorite Schoolhouse Rock episodes? Leave a comment!

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Filed under Blossom Dearie, Schoolhouse Rock, TV, WayBack Machine