Curated by Robert-Allan Arno
Wilse Chappel expresses, “First, I’d like to mention I love the work you two are doing with your ‘Soldiers for the Second Coming’ ministry. Marilyn and Billy, can you think back on the times you recorded the vocals for ‘One Less Bell To Answer’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Star.’ Could you share what those moments were like in the studio? Those are two of my favorites from the earlier days.”
BOTH: In addition to the obvious “Up-Up and Away,” “Aquarius/Sunshine,” and “One Less Bell,” here are some of our additional favorites: Group: 1) “Requiem: 820 Latham;” 2) “Sky & Sea;” 3) “Leave A Little Room;” 4) “Black Patch;” 5) “Stoned Soul Picnic;” 6) “Dimension 5ive;” 7) “Love’s, Lines, Angles & Rhymes;” 8) “Moonlight Mile.” Duets: 1) “Star;” 2) “Easy Way Out;” 3) “My Love For You Will Always Be the Same;” 4) “My Reason To Be is You;” 5) “The Two Of Us.”
Both Ed Clay Grant and Gregory Hall ask, “What was your relationship like with Laura Nyro?” Gregory inquires, “Did you ever meet her?” Ed explains, “She was a favorite lost too soon. It seems utterly amazing that The 5th Dimension had hits with five of her songs — that must be a record! ” (Editor’s Note: “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Sweet Blindness,” “Blown’ Away,” “Save the Country.”)
BOTH: We met Elvis in Lake Tahoe at the Sahara Tahoe. We were closing that night and he was opening the next night. They had a tunnel we’d use going back and forth to the backstage. He had just finished rehearsing; we were going backstage to get ready for our show. He was very nice and said he was coming to the show. We were thrilled!! The backstage manager informed us when he arrived at the show. Elvis’ rep asked what was our second to the last song in the show so they could slip out right afterward. They also asked us to please not introduce him. We said, “Don’t worry. We don’t want to cause a riot and ruin the rest of our show!”
MARILYN: I know lines that work for my body (and those that don’t!). I pick my clothes with that in mind. I don’t always buy the same designer since their tastes change and don’t always work for me. But for my performance clothes, I like Linda Stokes. She understands a woman’s body, she makes her clothes fit for me in the most flattering way, and she’ll change a look if needed.
Dave Maze expresses, “I saw you in Atlantic City last summer and spoke to your Music Director, Darrell Alston who told me you still sing everything in the original keys. What do you do to keep so youthful overall, and your voices so strong in order to be able to do that? Then when I had the pleasure of meeting you both, Billy said upon learning I was a singer, ‘Never stop singing!’ What other vocal tricks do you guys have up your sleeve?”
And here’s an artistic “love letter” to Marilyn, so appropriate as “Living Room” debuts on her birthday. Jim Handakas is back to share, “Your voice has always spoken directly to my soul. The phrasing, the pitch, how the richness of your belt voice effortlessly floats up to your pristine soprano…all of it comes together in your remarkable performances. I have been in the audience to hear you sing your signature hits many times and you always deliver. How much has training figured into your longevity? Your range is still amazing!”
BOTH: We believe, and have seen evidence, that if enough people express to the right venues an interest in seeing an artist perform in their area, it can encourage the buyers to investigate the possibilities. So, that being said, we love Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland, San Diego, Pittsburgh (and many more; the list gets long!).
MARILYN: I’d forgotten how many songs I sang with Cliff Richard; he was always a pleasure to work with (so musical; Billy and I enjoyed the tour we did with him in England a few years ago.) Singing with the Commodores was so much fun (and a reach for me!). Paul Williams, in addition to being an incredible songwriter, was also a riot to work with. He toured with The 5th Dimension, so we got to know him well, and he and Billy really hit it off! Donna Summer and I sang a Christmas duet together. Her voice was so powerful that when she came to my dressing room to rehearse, she almost blew me out of the room! (And I thought Billy had a powerful voice!)
Jungle Room also asks, “Would Billy consider doing a follow-up to his Gospel CD?” Faithful fan Susan Aglio enthuses, “Marilyn’s Christmas CD is an all-time favorite. I’m hoping Marilyn and Billy might record a new Christmas project!”
What a perfect visit, thanks to special fans, and of course “our MarBill”…
Robert: Marilyn and Billy, we can’t thank you enough for welcoming us into your “Living Room” and personally, for having FOREVER 5th DIMENSION host the event. And how timely that we get to unveil it so festively on Marilyn’s birthday which is always a precious date of celebration for your many, many worldwide fans! You still have so many artistic journeys in store for us, and you make it all seem so effortless, we never wish to take your spirit of excellence for granted. I know in particular, your participation in the Colors of Christmas Tour ’17 and then in the new year, on The Soul Train Cruise will delight many.MARILYN & BILLY: Robert, thank you for coming up with this incredible “Living Room” concept…it’s ingenious! And how beautiful that so many have been wondering about so many things regarding our careers! There were very interesting questions, some we’ve never been asked before, and others that allowed us to take some fun trips down memory lane and share with our “Living Room” friends.
Moonlight Mile: https://youtu.be/SET2ebDJmEc
When Did I Lose Your Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpNO0uq8xyg
Black Patch: https://youtu.be/DvBMU3P4ISY
Dimension 5ive: https://youtu.be/nxNYjtXxwVM
The Worst that Could Happen (live): https://youtu.be/unsy1CxtWFQ
My Love For You Will Always Be the Same: https://youtu.be/_LFav-4Td6A
The Two of Us (live): https://youtu.be/B-8KjPv8-5s
JELLO commercial: https://youtu.be/pS7Z4ygOLbs
Marilyn sings with BJ Thomas: https://youtu.be/_Z5PTs6e-sY
Marilyn sings with Paul Williams: https://youtu.be/iwBWsS874_4