Marilyn & Billy, Florence and LaMonte remember The Queen of Soul


8/17–During an emotional day while the world mourned the passing of the incomparable musical icon, Aretha Franklin, it was an honor for me to help coordinate the tributes from our stars of The Original 5th Dimension, to be featured on various social media, yesterday. And today, it’s an equal honor to present them here, compiled, for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION. As we celebrate our tenth year of the blog, it’s this very spirit of cooperative generosity that is the essence of all we appreciate coming from, and stand for in representing our featured stars, and those they have loved, like Ms. Franklin.  –Robert-Allan Arno

ARETHA TWOMarilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.:  “For well over 50 years, Aretha Franklin’s incredible sound and vocal gift have influenced the world of music in every form she touched, from gospel to rhythm & blues to rock & roll, pop, & even opera. She had her own fresh take on anything she sang. You can hear the influence of Aretha in young singers today on The Voice, American Idol, etc. We feel so blessed to have known her and to consider her our contemporary. We will all miss her. Our prayers go out to her family; her loss is tremendous!” –Billy & Marilyn

aretha-time-coverFlorence LaRue: “What can I say that has not been said?!! She’ll always be ‘The Queen of Soul!’ She inspired me like no other!~~It was not only her fabulous voice, but her heart and honesty that shone in everything she sang. My vocal coach used to tell me, ‘Just be yourself ~~~ There’s only one Aretha Franklin and she’s the greatest!!’ And my vocal teacher was right!” –Florence LaRue

ARETHA 3LaMonte McLemore:  “Long live the Queen of Soul…
now soaring higher than ever, in heaven above.”
With love & special prayers,
LaMonte & Mieko

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd,, all rights reserved, copyright 2008-2018, all rights reserved)



Holiday 5th-Fun ’18!

Take a look at these festive n’ fun to-do’s, guaranteed to “walk your feet in the holiday season sunshine!”  –Robert


no-jiveProgram Director Allan Sniffen & our good friends at Rewound Radio, one of the Internet’s top “oldies” stations, have been so kind to The 5th Dimension legacy over the years, presenting their hits, rarities, special interviews with LaMonte and Florence, birthday tributes to each of the original stars, and recording exclusive ID’s with Marilyn, Billy, Florence & Mac. Let’s show our appreciation by voting in this year’s exciting Top 77 of All Time. It’s easy and fun! Here’s how…

VOTE for your favorite songs in the 21st Top 77 of All Time!  This year you can vote for up to TEN songs…rank your choices in order, put your most favorite at #1! VOTE at this link:

“It’s not how old it is…it’s how good it is,” says Rewound! Listen to them on the ‘net at:

Results of the Top 77 will be unveiled the day after Christmas thru New Year!

Mac’s Goody Bag! 

mac santa hatLaMonte McLemore has these holiday gift-giving suggestions…one is nice, one is “naughty!!” Mac shares…

“Give the gift of my hit memoir co-authored by Robert-Allan Arno, ‘From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension: A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography and Music'”
book cover
Or…”Give the gift of laughter with my rib-tickling joke book, ‘Everybody Loves a Good Dirty Joke'”
“Both make “cool Yule” gifts!”  –LaMonte
Exciting Concert News!

McCoo & Davis, “The 1st Couple of Pop & Soul”

7-time Grammy winners, “The 1st Couple of Pop & Soul” Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. will be presenting their “Up, Up & Away: Hits & Holidays” concert at the Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda, New York on Sat. Dec 15. For tickets & more information:

Black White Columbus DayBack by popular request, Marilyn & Billy return to Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco for 3 shows, Fri & Sat, Nov 30 – Dec 1. For tickets & details:
Florence & The 5th bring magic to 2019….
5th with Sidney
Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension (Patrice, Leonard, Floyd and Sidney) bring their inimitable “Champagne Soul magic”  in concert to sold-out crowds who never can get enough of the greatest hits, awesome harmonies & enchanting staging! Their exciting 2019 touring schedule is already shaping up with stops in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Branson Missouri, and much more. See their official schedule here:
SANTA 5th(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd, copyright 08-18, all rights reserved)

Happy Halloween…5th-style!

MAC Magician

“Happy Halloween,” 5th-style! It’s Mac the Crystal Ball Wizard from LaMonte‘s exclusive photo collection. Plus, enjoy these select musical treats (with links)…no tricks!…

–Florence feels “superstitious” as she sings “Magic in My Life”
Listen here:

–Billy tells about a lady who can “cast her spell on you” in “The Riverwitch”
Listen here:

–Our beloved Ron hits his highs with relish, and laughs his inimitable mischievous laugh in “Eli’s Coming”
Listen here:

APRIL 1 RARE FLIPBonus Video!  Enjoy The Original 5th Dimension as The Adams Family in this cute “Jib-Jab” we put together that’s become a Halloween “regular” over recent years! Marilyn, Billy, Florence, LaMonte and Ron…in costumes that “ain’t” Boyd Clopton’s, lol!

Watch on YouTube here:

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., copyright 2008-2018, all rights reserved.)

Happy Birthday, Marilyn: Colleagues Salute Her Stellar Songs

“As soon as we first met, I knew she’d be a star. Today, Marilyn never ceases to surpass herself.”–Jimmy Webb ~ “Who does not like if not revere Marilyn? She is the personification of beauty and class.”–LaMonte McLemore ~ “Marilyn is ‘the singer’s singer.’ I am a true fan.”–Neil Sedaka

Dateline Sept. 30: Fans & friends, this particular Sunday is a very special one as we celebrate Marilyn McCoo‘s birthday, today. On Facebook & Twitter, you’ve joined us this past week as we’ve counted down her greatest vocal solos accompanied by celebrity accolades. And your thoughtful reactions–the world over–on each thread, were magnificent. Just take a view of Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Official on Facebook, or review the @mccoodavis Twitter feed!

Personally, like many of you, the eternal grace of Marilyn McCoo has made my life all the brighter. Each shining “Marilyn song”…every TV appearance…all the “live” concerts with The Original 5th Dimension, solo, or with hubby Billy…from Carnegie Hall to Atlantic City to Las Vegas…remain unforgettable. Working with Marilyn & Billy daily, presenting their social media, and on special projects like liner notes and Forever 5th Dimension exclusives, is a magnificent experience. The “chemistry” simply gels, with always something new & exciting to learn as we share much joy in creating! Fans & friends, as we all extend our appreciation, best wishes and blessings to Marilyn on the occasion of her birthday, Forever 5th Dimension presents the following “retrospective” of this week’s festivities as a heartfelt compendium of her stellar artistry.   –Robert-Allan Arno

Mar Six 8“Love’s Lines, Angles & Rhymes”: We start with Marilyn’s personal favorite…from the album of the same title, “Love’s Lines, Angles and Rhymes.” Composer Dorothea Joyce says, “Marilyn was the perfect artist for this tune, her interpretive abilities as well as impeccable vocal chops, took my song to a new level…she is truly in a class by herself.” Listen here:
Marilyn in the Woods Two“Never My Love” is not only a priceless fan favorite but a “McCoo interpretation” that evokes this striking sentiment from Richard Addrisi of composers, the Addrisi Brothers: “If I could capture any voice in a bottle, it would surely be Marilyn’s…it’s pure love.” Listen to the classic version from LIVE here: And the re-visited version from the MANY FACES project here:
Mar Six 5“Open Your Window”: Our “countdown” to Marilyn’s birthday continues with an album “mood-setter” that happens to be one of Grammy-winning producer Bones Howe’s personal faves. Mr. Bones shares, “When I heard Harry Nilsson’s ‘Open Your Window’ I had a hunch it would be perfect for Marilyn…and I was right. Marilyn has that quality…it’s very feminine, and it’s all her own. I think she (and Billy, too) should be singing forever…even with just a piano! The fans will never cease to listen…and neither will I.” Let’s take a deep sigh, with “Open Your Window;” listen here:

“If I Could Reach You”: We savor another “McCoo classic” as its composer, Randy McNeil weighs in with this compelling quote: “Marilyn made me feel like the most blessed songwriter on earth when she delivered her unmatchable vocal performance of ‘If I Could Reach You.’ With a voice so warm and mellow it could melt our hearts, yet possessing an electrifying energy that could give us chills and shake the rafters, God’s gift to her has been her gift to us. And the words and music of ‘If I Could Reach You’ were in need of Marilyn’s gift.” Listen here:

Mar Six 2
“One Less Bell to Answer”: “It’s really a jazz ballad,” says producer Bones Howe. Marilyn herself calls it a “torch song.” And it’s been “informally” voted as the fans’ favorite all-time Pop-Soul super-hit by The Original 5th Dimension. “One Less Bell to Answer” is the jewel in the crown of Marilyn McCoo’s vocal solo gems. With words & music by Bacharach/David, from the seminal PORTRAIT album, even 8-time Tony Award winner, Audra McDonald hummed a few bars of it during a recent TV interview and sited Marilyn’s “beautiful voice” as an early influence. Need we say more…listening to the indelible recording is always a “new experience”…hear it here:


“Wedding Bell Blues”: “It’s a Laura Nyro tune I always loved…and saved! When I found out Marilyn and Billy were dating, I knew it was the right time for Marilyn to record the lead…we surprised Billy and the group with it when they added their back-ups.” That’s producer Bones Howe talking about the Number 1 classic hit for The Original 5th Dimension, “Wedding Bell Blues.” Fun fact: It’s one of the top jukebox tunes of all time! Laura herself commented, “I LOVE what The 5th Dimension brought to my songs. They were like delicious ice cream sodas on a hot summer’s day!” Listen to Marilyn’s “scrumptious” vocal solo on “Wedding Bell Blues” here:


A MAR REACH LANGDONBonus “McCoo tunes”…

The delightful “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All” mixes melancholy with a 50’s back-beat and orchestra bells! Listen to Marilyn’s addictive, lilting lament here:

The original version of “Saving All My Love for You” from the “Marilyn & Billy” album was envisioned in the genres of “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Did you know it was a hit in the Philippines? Enjoy Marilyn’s sincere, bluesy interpretation here:

Twitter Banner MarBill

Visit Marilyn & Billy, touring to the best reviews of their careers (like their recent sold-out Labor Day weekend at Hollywood’s Catalina Jazz Club*), at, follow them on Twitter @mccoodavis, and “like” Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (Official) on Facebook!

*Enjoy exclusive photos of the “Catalina experience” in this collage, courtesy of Deniserose Torres

Special thanks to Steve Rosenblum, Blake Van Leer, and all the songwriters, singers and other luminaries who contributed their unique quotes for this edition!

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., copyright 2008-18, Intellectual Property, All Rights Reserved)

Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension Electrify!


It’s been an amazing “summer tour summer” for the on-fire Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension…our “Delightful Diva” and talented crew–Patrice, Leonard, Floyd and newest member, Sidney have brought their “Champagne Soul” magic from east coast to west…with a mighty end-of-season stop in Niagara Falls. Special fan Brian Medoro shares this first-hand account…a charmingly informative review that embodies the onstage spirit, today of our favorite quintet. Enjoy, everyone!

Review by Brian Medoro
8/31/18–Fallsview Casino Hotel, Avalon Ballroom, Niagara Falls, Canada

At 9pm sharp, an anxiously awaiting crowd saw the lights dim and the curtain open in this 1500 seat theater. Complete with balcony, The Avalon Ballroom in Niagara Falls, Ontario doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. The enthusiastic members of The 5th Dimension danced onto the stage, ready to show off their talent and show this jammed room a great time. Instantly you could sense their happiness and excitement to perform for us.

The quintet took us through an entire range of musical emotions…in answer to Ms. LaRue’s question, “Do you remember?” they opened with “September,” which surpassed the E, W & F version in meaning. Then they brought us through some early history of the group, performing a little Motown that got away from them. Next, on to a set of 5th Dimension-flashback hits we all know and love. My big surprise was to hear them sing “Workin’ On A Groovy Thing.” I never saw them perform that live before in the 20+ concerts I’ve seen of theirs! That was indeed, “groovy!” More hits: “Wedding Bell Blues,” “The Worst That Could Happen,” “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep,” and my favorite, “Never My Love.” Superstar Florence always astounds the audience with this powerful hit of theirs from ’71. If I only saw them perform that one song I would have felt like I had seen an entire show, it is that good!

On the topic of Leonard A Tucker Jr with “The Worst That Could Happen,” I would place him as one of today’s best male singers–he can sing a range of genres flawlessly…it’s mind-blowing! He brought the audience to their knees with his interpretation…you could visibly see he felt the impact of love from the crowd.

Florence told us that the incomparable Willie Williams had decided to retire from the group. We will surely miss him! The new member of the group is Sidney Jacobs who now takes the lead on “MacArthur Park.” He did not disappoint!

Patrice Morris delivers “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep”–an instant fan favorite for all. Later, Patrice absolutely shined in her version of “I Can’t Stand The Rain.” With a little sass and power, her voice knocked down the proverbial walls of the Avalon Ballroom and made the Falls of Niagara stop, too!

My favorite part about this current grouping is they have preserved that richly resonant sound so characteristic of The Original 5th Dimension. That is a sound so classic and so proprietary that no other group in history can claim it. I must note that Floyd A Smith‘s phenomenal bass vocals help to keep that blend perfectly in tact.

Florence_La_Rue-rt-port-9087final_16x23-9-2The legendary, Ms. Florence LaRue is back up to the mic, performing the group’s signature ballad, “One Less Bell To Answer.” Her emotional vocal prowess is so strong, it drove everyone to their feet, shouting and cheering in appreciation.

With all this excitement it couldn’t get any better…but it does. The real party gets under way when The 5th “surry down to a ‘Stoned Soul Picnic.'” Near the end of the song, Florence pulls out some fun loving “party people” from the audience to show us how they strut their stuff in Canada. These good-natured unsuspecting fans had everyone roaring with laughter!

The air is thick with high energy as the lights get a little “trippy,” bringing goosebumps when we hear the band break into “Aquarius.” It is 1969 all over again and we “Let the Sunshine In!” The Niagara Falls audience just couldn’t let Florence LaRue and The 5th Dimension go…we cheered them back for an encore of two more incredible songs.

Fans left the room lit up like stars in the nighttime Niagara sky, talking and smiling like they experienced something like never before…and we truly did! The group has rolled back the hands of time looking, sounding and staying young forever. Thank you Florence LaRue for maintaining The 5th Dimension authentic sound and image for over 5 decades, and finding the greatest talent on earth to continue the “electricity” with you. —Brian Medoro

(Edited by Robert-Allan Arno for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION)

BET FALLsCheck out the exciting fall and winter touring schedule of Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension at this link…from California to a Christmas residency in Branson to bookings into 2019:

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno is a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., copyright 2008-2018, intellectual property, all rights reserved)

A Wedding Anniversary, A New Dance-Tune, A Multi-Season Touring Schedule

May 18 Banner SqDateline July 26–Welcome to our latest “eclectic” edition of FOREVER 5th DIMENSION. It’s the 49th Wedding Anniversary of our 1st Couple of Pop & Soul, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr…go to their official Facebook page, today, and enter the drawing to win an autographed copy of their 2-volume Live CD! We’ve been having so much fun on Twitter–which I’m so honored to curate for our duo through my company, The Soul of The Voice, Ltd.–counting down to this special day.  We’ll review those Tweets at the close of our blog…but right now, here is MarBill’s heartwarming statement for the occasion:

With one of us originally from St. Louis, the other ‘an LA girl,’ if we had known 49 years ago that God would bless us with a relationship that would reach today’s anniversary, the concept would’ve been so unlikely, we would’ve laughed. (‘Who can stay married 49 years in this day and age–and in this business!?’) But never underestimate the Lord! Thank you, ALL of you for your love & support over all these years. We are so blessed & so thankful to have each of you!! 

Love, Billy & Marilyn 49 ANN COLLAGEMarilyn & Billy will be “in residency” over Labor Day weekend!  They say, “How we love putting together your favorites with new cabaret surprises! Join us at Hollywood’s intimate Catalina Bar & Grill for Jazz, Pop, Torch & Blues…done the ‘MarBill’ way!” That’s Fri Aug 31 – Sun Sept 2. For tickets go to:

Florence and GroupFlorence LaRue & The 5th Dimension are sizzling! Their concerts of Champagne Soul bring classic harmonic hit sounds to today’s stages for multi-generational family entertainment performed for consistently sold-out crowds! Their current summer ’18 tour calendar…their upcoming Christmas residency…their bookings into the 2019 season…are ALL thrilling!fLOR RED BOB BARRY

Go here to see their cross-country touring schedule–tix for Florence & The 5th Dimension always sell out fast!!  Ms. LaRue & the group look forward to seeing YOU!:

Flor Kim

#SnapShot Whether on the road with The 5th Dimension or involved with her solo endeavors, our delightful diva, Florence LaRue is always busy! Last month, she co-hosted with actress Kym Whitley, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s “Legends, Movement, And Memories” show.

LaMonte McLemore wants you to meet Ms. Fanny Fine…Fanny Big ArtworkLaMonte’s new dance tune is here, ready for download purchase on CD Baby…here’s the scoop:  “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the baddest of them all?” Introducing “Fanny Fine.” According to 6-time Grammy award winning founder of legends The 5th Dimension, LaMonte McLemore, who wrote & produced the new dance tune, “The lady is an homage to and a montage of ALL the beautiful women I’ve had the honor and pleasure of photographing for top magazines over 5 decades!”mac museum large yellow A touch retro but definitely today, “Fanny” elicits those dance-able club moves amid catchy, “5th Dimension-inspired” harmonic grooves. With music production & arrangement by Lloyd Tolbert and lead vocal by the soulfully dexterous Julio Hanson. “And don’t forget the characterization by Tyrone Fox…his artwork reflects the essence of Fanny!” adds Mr. Mac, who punctuates with his inimitable humor. He chuckles, “Fanny Fine will make ‘Brick House’ look like a shed!”

Order “Fanny Fine” on CD Baby, here:

Twitter Recap! Now, here’s a review of some of the fun & “sweet Tweets” Marilyn & Billy have been featuring as a count-down to today’s anniversary…we leave you with there’s as we anticipate our own 10 year anniversary edition of FOREVER 5th DIMENSION…complete with surprises…coming soon!  –Robert-Allan Arno

appreciation 102

#ThrowbackThursday We’re starting a one-week count-down to our #49thWeddingAnniversary (July 26) featuring fave picture & musical memories! This pose is from the photo shoot of our 1st duet album–you could find it on the LP’s inner sleeve! #IHopeWeGetToLoveInTime

When asked about our fave duet recordings, “My Reason to Be is You” is one of them. Please enjoy this live version that follows our performance of “Sad Eyes”…view it here:

As we count down to our #49thAnniversary on Thurs, we’re thinking of what we did for our 40th…the #ManyFacesofLove project! From it, “We Can Work It Out”* is perfect for #TuesdayGroove! Listen here:

“You are the early mornin’ sun, you bring the light into my day…”
One of our faves from our duet sessions, “My Love for You (Will Always Be the Same)” is also our choice for today’s #SundaySunshine tune as we count down to our #49thWeddingAnniversary. Listen here:


Wedding Collage#FashionFriday Which was our “real” wedding attire?! We were styled on the left, to perform “Wedding Bell Blues” on TV. On the right, come July 26, this photo will mark our official 49th! #49WeddingAnniversary

Wedding Fashion done

Special Thanks to Marilyn & Billy, Florence, LaMonte, the worldwide fans, Steve Rosenblum (Sterling/Winters)

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., all rights reserved, intellectual property, copyright 2008-2018)


Celebrating Billy’s Birthday ’18!

Today June 26, we honor Billy Davis, Jr.’s special day. Our 7-time Grammy winning Gentleman of Soul has been regarded as a major “influencer” to such beloved luminaries as Maurice White and Gerald Levert of Earth, Wind & Fire and The O’Jays, respectively. Tunesmith Jimmy Webb considers Billy to be one of our all-time greatest singers…and of course, so does his lovely wife of soon-to-be 49 years, Marilyn McCoo. And you, the special fans all have your favorite “Billy solos” and vocal moments!  Go on over, today to the Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (Official) Fan page on Facebook…then mention a few of your faves as you wish Billy a “Happy Birthday”…AND be eligible to win an autographed copy of Marilyn & Billy’s LIVE double-CD. (See rules at the thread!)
Billy Birthday Collage TWO
And @mccoodavis on Twitter (official), a page I’m so pleased to curate for our duo, we’ve been featuring a pre-birthday week Tweet-a-day with quotes from Marilyn & Billy and links to some very special “Billy solos”…we’re going to review them for you right now at FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, for your “Billy listening party!”  Enjoy, as I personally wish to recognize a role model whose impeccable interpretations and gentle spirit reflect a state of Godliness that brings revelation and peace with each year I have the pleasure of knowing Sir Billy Davis, Jr.  –Robert-Allan Arno
This past week, Marilyn & Billy Tweeted:

#BillyBDay Marilyn: We’re beginning our week-long celebration leading to Billy’s birthday by bringing you my husband’s special solos–my faves, his, & yours! For #TuesdayGroove the question is…are U “Feelin’ Alright?”
Listen here:

#BillyBirthdayCountdown Marilyn: “When we were planning tunes for THE MANY FACES OF LOVE project, I thought the classic ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ would be ideal for Billy’s voice and style!” Billy: “And I’m so glad my wife suggested it!” Enjoy it here:

#BillyBDayCountdown #ThrowbackThurs People tell us this particular song from the #IndividuallyandCollectively album has resonated for them over the years. Its title alone brings words to live by: “Leave a Little Room.”
Listen here:

#FashionFriday #BillyBdayCountdown We feature this mashup of “The Worst that Could Happen”/”Wedding Bell Blues” because quite simply, these Webb/Nyro gems never go out of style! Marilyn: “Billy’s interpretation of @realjimmywebb’s lyric is so powerful!”

Photo of 5th Dimension

#SundaySunshine #BillyBdayCountdown Sing along with us as we “Let the Sunshine In” on this 1st Sunday of #Summer18! Listen here:

#BillyBdayCountdown Singing #SamCooke‘s “A Change is Gonna Come” over the years has been a blessing. When people comment on how my performance has moved them, I say: “That’s not me…it’s God working through me.” –Billy
Watch a special presentation here:

Summer Bonus! Enjoy this sweet-soul delight (one of producer Bones Howe’s personal faves!) from “The Magic Garden…”she’s a flower child,” #Summer’s Daughter:

Lastly, Billy’s motto is “What comes from the heart…goes to the heart.” From the “Earthbound” album, here’s “Speaking with My Heart”:

Billy Center

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, copyright 08-18, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., all rights reserved)