Remembering Dave Frishberg, songwriter of 'I'm Just a Bill'

Dave Frishberg
Dave Frishberg at the piano. Frishberg died Wednesday in Portland, Ore. He was 88.
Photo courtesy of Dave Frishberg

Songwriter Dave Frishberg reluctantly said “I’m Just a Bill,” the song from the TV show “Schoolhouse Rock,” was his most famous. Frishberg died Wednesday in Portland, Ore., where he’d been living since the 1980s. He was 88.

The jazz pianist and singer grew up in St. Paul and went to Central High before getting a degree from the University of Minnesota.

Back in 1994, Leigh Kamman asked Frishberg about his time as a journalism student at the U, and his early start as a copywriter.

“It didn’t take long that I realized it wasn’t going to be for me,” Frishberg told Kamman. “And I was right."

But songwriting was for him. Frishberg wrote dozens of songs with sharply witty lyrics and catchy tunes. He sang his songs at the piano, accompanied by his own jazzy riffs.

Songs like “I'm Hip” and “My Attorney Bernie” were trendy in their time and became jazz and cabaret classics. He even wrote a surprisingly tender song consisting solely of names of baseball players of yore.

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