The artist behind an iconic educational cartoon has died at the age of 88.
According to a statement by his wife, Dave Frishberg — best known for his work on the Schoolhouse Rock video “I’m Just a Bill” — died after a long illness.
“We are suspending the campaign”
“We are saddened to report that Dave passed away today, after battling illness for several years,” April Magnusson wrote in a post announcing the end of a GoFundMe project. “As a result, we are suspending the campaign, but your thoughts and support are always welcome.”
A number of news outlets put the significance of his contribution to pop culture into perspective.
As Tne New York Times described him, Frishberg was “an accomplished, unregenerate jazz pianist who managed to outrun the eras of rock, soul, disco, punk, and hip-hop by writing hyper-literate songs that harked back to Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer by way of Stephen Sondheim.”
His ability to appeal to children and adults alike ensured him a nostalgic place in the hearts of Americans from multiple generations.
Deteriorating health over the past few years brought to an end a career that spanned decades and included collaborations with countless major artists.
“The wittiest songwriter ever from St. Paul”
Frishberg was nominated for four Grammy awards and earned critical success as early as his first release, The Dave Frishberg Songbook, Volume No. 1. Follow-up albums including Live at Vine Street and Can’t Take You Nowhere also earned him critical praise.
He will be missed by scores of fans around the world who are now left to reflect on the impact his work made on their lives.
Although he might be most widely recognized for writing “I’m Just a Bill,” Star Tribune music critic Jon Bream noted how extensive Frishberg’s reach was within the music industry across Minnesota and beyond.
In a tweet, he eulogized Frishberg as “the wittiest songwriter ever from St. Paul,” going on to include a list of his “clever” songs, including “Peel Me a Grape, I’m Hip, My Attorney Bernie, I Want to Be a Sideman and Van Lingle Mungo, whose lyrics were names of baseball players.”
Whatever aspect of his storied career stands out the most, it is clear that fans of all ages are mourning the death of an iconic musical figure.