My Top 1000 Songs #681: The Magic Number

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.] 

Like most kids of my generation, I spent Saturday mornings in the early 70s watching cartoons and other Saturday morning kids' shows. My parents were pretty restrictive about the tv in our house (not obsessively so, but definitely limits on weekday viewing when I was younger), so Saturdays were a special time when my younger brother and I could spend a few hours with the Super Friends and Scooby-Doo and Shazam and Land of the Lost and whatever else was airing at the time.

And on ABC, those shows were broken up by Multiplication Rock interludes, brief animated songs that were delightfully fun and surprisingly musically varied while still getting you to practice your multiplication tables. (These of course were later expanded to Schoolhouse Rock as they moved into grammar and US history).

The very first song they recorded, and still one of the definitive Schoolhouse Rock tracks, was "Three Is A Magic Number," jazz vocalist Bob Dorough multiplying by 3 backed by a perfect little pop nugget. It's one of my key childhood memories, revived in 1989 by thoughtful rappers De La Soul (on their debut 3 Feet High And Rising), who repurposed the hook for some autobiographical (and, ok, a little opaque) wordsmithing. Their "Magic Number" is wiggy fun in its own right, though it's hard for me to objectively separate it from the heartwarming nostalgic vibe.

The original:
Blind Melon cover from the 1996 Schoolhouse Rock tribute album: