Three Is a Magic Number
"Three Is a Magic Number" is the pilot episode of the Schoolhouse Rock! series and the first episode of the program's first season, "Multiplication Rock." The title song, written by Bob Dorough, and accompanying animated video were created after ad agency co-chairman David McCall observed that his son had learned every Beatles lyric but could not remember multiplication tables. The episode first aired on February 3, 1973.
Though the song is not as iconic to the Schoolhouse Rock series as later episodes such as "I'm Just a Bill" and "Conjunction Junction" (ranking as only the show's seventh most popular episode according to the 30th Anniversary VHS), it has proven, thanks to its more passive approach to teaching about the multiples of three than later episodes, to be more popular as a standalone album. The music video for this version[clarification needed] features clips from the original show.
Perhaps the most well known cover was done by the band Blind Melon, which also features one of the last vocal recordings of the band's vocalist Shannon Hoon. This version also appeared in films such as Never Been Kissed, Slackers, and You, Me and Dupree.
De La Soul interpolate both the original melody and snippets of lyric from this song into their track "The Magic Number", as featured on their debut album 3 Feet High and Rising. A version by Jon Carter, modeled after the De La Soul version, was used in channel idents for BBC Three from its launch in February 2003 until January 2008.
The Three Mobile Company in Australia has used the song as its theme song during advertisements since the brand broke in to the Australian market. The song has also been covered by Greek singer Elena Paparizou for the a Swedish Three Mobile advertising campaign in 2007.
The song was also featured in commercials for espn3.com. It was used for the Sony Disney DVD player. The song was parodied on the MADtv sketch "Public Schoolhouse Rock!" with a song about substitute teachers.
The lyric "faith and hope and charity" is referenced in the Ernest Cline novel Ready Player One; the words, in reverse, appear over a gateway as a clue that the door may only be opened by three people holding the proper keys, and the title of the song is spoken to make all three of the door's keyholes appear.
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