Celebrating a Legacy

Honoring Black History Month ’17–

a Forever 5th Dimension Exclusive Report by Robert-Allan Arno

Here’s The Original 5th Dimension: Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., LaMonte McLemore, Florence LaRue & Ron Townson circa ’70, from photographer Arnie Lee‘s famed photo shoot of the quintet (at Eastern Michigan University) and currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.

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florence-fringe-nowOur delightful diva, Ms. Florence LaRue just toasted a milestone birthday. She shares with us:

“WOW!! I haven’t the words or the time to individually thank the many people all over the world who sent wonderful birthday wishes to me! I thank God for all of you taking the time to do so; and I thank Him for allowing me to live 75 healthy years!~~~Yes 75!! I understand that some had my years much younger, but I am grateful for the years of learning, experiencing and growing closer to God! My heart is so full~~~THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! I feel SO loved! 🙂 and I send love to you!”  –Florence

On Feb. 18, Florence had a sumptuous house party attended by friends, family, fans and musical colleagues, including Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. who sang, individually at the intimate gathering.  Also attending were current members of The 5th Dimension:  Patrice Morris, Leonard Tucker and Floyd Smith. Here’s a lovely photo commemorating the event.

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Current & founding members of The 5th Dimension join Ms. LaRue at her birthday soiree.  L to R: Floyd Smith, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., Florence, Leonard Tucker & Patrice Morris

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Memoir Available on Amazon*

And throughout this meaningful month, founder of The 5th Dimension, LaMonte McLemore is making select media appearances discussing the harmonious, unifying legacy of The 5th Dimension, his hit memoir “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension,” and featuring his exciting new song, a call for global peace: CEASE FIRE.

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Available at CD Baby:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lamontemclemore

“Mac” has appeared with Jimmy Howes on WGHT, Freddie Bell and Chantel on “The People’s Station,” Teddy Bear on LOTL Radio and just taped a podcast for world-wide distribution with the engaging Chris Yandeck at “CY Interview.”  Listen to Mac’s heartfelt, in-depth chat with Chris at this easy link (scroll down there for player):  http://www.cyinterview.com/2017/02/up-up-and-away-the-5th-dimension-founder-lamonte-mclemore-talks-his-life-and-his-book-from-hobo-flats-to-the-5th-dimension-a-life-fulfilled-in-baseball-photography-and-music/

Visit LaMonte McLemore on: Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in

*His memoir, FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5TH DIMENSION at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Hobo-Flats-5th-Dimension-Photography/dp/0692307362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487528579&sr=8-1&keywords=hobo+flats+to+5th+dimension

Visit Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension for concert schedule & more at:  http://5thdimensionlive.com

Visit Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. for appearances & more at: Facebook Official  or  http://www.mccoodavis.com

(Photo Credit: Arnie Lee, all rights reserved; Patrice Morris,  Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, copyright ’17, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., intellectual property, all rights reserved)

Marilyn & Billy: Valentines in Vegas

Feb 11 & 12, 2017 marked the 3rd consecutive yearly Valentine’s Day weekend concert appearance of “First Couple of Pop n’ Soul,” Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. at the Orleans Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. Their “Up, Up & Away” extravaganza with superb musicians under the direction of Darrell Alston, including singers Cydney Davis, Andre Carthen and Cynthia Bass was not only sold-out but an enthralling standing O success.

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McCoo & Davis with talented musicians & singers bring “Up, Up & Away” extravaganza to Vegas, Valentine’s weekend

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LaMonte McLemore with fan, Jonathan Weitz

Attending was founder and original member of The 5th Dimension, LaMonte McLemore who declared, “Marilyn and Billy never rest on their laurels…their show was fabulous!” And special fans were there in full force like Andy Gard, Jonathan Weitz, and the ever observant DeniseRose Torres who brings us this exciting collage of onstage photos to behold!  Enjoy!  –Robert-Allan Arno

(copyright ’17, Forever 5th Dimension, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., intellectual property, all rights reserved)

Marilyn & Billy, all smiles as they take in a standing O & take a graceful bow…

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Courtesy Jonathan Weitz

Visit McCoo & Davis Official on Facebook or at:  http://www.mccoodavis.com

Happy Birthday to the Delightful Florence LaRue

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Dateline Feb 4–I just spoke with the indefatigable, sunshiny, ever-inspiring,  not to mention always glamorous Florence LaRue…up in Niagara Falls as she was not only anticipating a birthday but a sold-out series of concerts with The 5th Dimension.

Our FOREVER 5th DIMENSION 2017 birthday tribute to our “Delightful Diva” is fresh–chock full o’ photos, a “historic homage” and special commentary from the fans as we explore Florence’s best-loved vocal solos. 

Simply tune in at the link below & join us for the “Florence Celebration!”:

–Robert-Allan Arno

https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/the-delightful-divas-birthday/

“Sweet Memories of Sweets”

rare-sweetRonald “Sweets” Townson: Remembering the gentleman who brought The Original 5th Dimension his robust dignity and classical bent…and so much more. Now begins our “sweet” annual tradition as we honor his legacy on his birth date of January 29. Our “refreshed” essay for ’17, “Sweet Memories of Sweets” features quotes & stories from the stars and family who knew him best: Marilyn & Billy, Florence, LaMonte and Ron’s son Kyle.  And we spotlight the Top 5 (and more!) Ron “vocal solos.”  And the special fans weigh in with thoughtful feedback.  Lotsa’ photos, too!

Please join us now for “Sweet Memories of Sweets” at this “Forever 5th Dimension” link:

https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/celebrating-ron-townsons-birthday/

Robert-Allan Arno,

Biographer–The Original 5th Dimension

Forever 5th Dimension–Greatest Hits of ’16!

year-end-collage-16-revisedI was on the radio with LaMonte McLemore this past spring talking with broadcasting great Jimmy Howes of WGHT and we all came to a simultaneous revelation–not that “The Declaration” somehow foreshadowed “Hamilton” (although we did and it did!), but that “Mac,” Florence (and The current 5th Dimension) and Marilyn & Billy are still here, as vibrant as ever, doing their “groovy thing”…spreading “sunshine”…with “love lines” in every note sung, every interview they do. To the special fans–we who are considered friends, and part of “The 5th Family”–that reality is a true blessing to celebrate. And so we bring you our annual “Greatest Hits” review of ’16 (in no particular order) as we look forward to a new year in grace, with “balloons, picnics and bells” ringing us in! And we also toast the dawning of our 9th year of FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, you’ve made us a global success and we are grateful. —Robert-Allan Arno, Biographer The Original 5th Dimension & LaMonte McLemore

COOL 5th BODY NOW THREEFlorence LaRue & The 5th Dimension continue to present their family-friendly, sophisticated n’ smokin’ evenings of “Champagne Soul” all over the country and the world. This past year, a concert in the Philippines was a highlight for the quintet which features Patrice Morris, Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker & Floyd Smith.  Our “delightful diva” is age-proof as she celebrates 50 years with the group and appears with today’s 5th on the top morning TV info-tainment shows, often.  Florence also did a mini-tour with Maureen McGovern and Freda Payne bringing joy this Christmas season. Ms. LaRue tells me with classy sass, “We have some catching up to do!”…you know our lovely lady and her abounding energies have lotsa’ sweet plans for ’17…of course, look for The 5th Dimension lead by Florence on tour…their authentic harmonies, all your favorite hits, are fresher than ever!  Just in–A sold-out concert in St. Petersburg started the new year on the perfect note; a Las Vegas evening on Sat. Feb 21 at the Cannery Casino Hotel continues the onstage “5th fab fun”!

Visit Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension for concert schedule and more at:  http://5thdimensionlive.com

Unforgettable Seven Gen BobMarilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., those eternal sweethearts of Rock n’ Soul, celebrated 47 years of marriage this past July.  They have been busy doing what they love best, touring with their contemporary concert presentation of Blues, Torch and Pop-Soul plus an all-new Broadway-like extravaganza, in many ways their musical autobiography titled:  “Up-Up and Away: A Musical Fable.”  Our “MarBill” appear frequently on radio and TV (a highlight was a visit to “Sandyland” on Sirius hosted by Sandra Bernhard this past spring) and are regular contributors to FOREVER 5th DIMENSION with their touching thoughts and astute commentary peppered all throughout our Blog entries.  I thank them wholeheartedly for their continued enthusiasm, care and wise mentoring!  Our favorite duo is already gearing up for their winter residency at the Colony in Palm Beach, Florida (Jan. 17-28), and for their 3rd Valentine’s weekend appearance in a row (Feb. 11-12) at the Orleans Casino Hotel in Las Vegas!

Read our FOREVER 5th DIMENSION Review of MarBill’s “Up-Up & Away:  A Musical Fable” at: https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/marilyn-billy-bring-an-irresistible-musical-fable/

For up-to-the-minute concert news, visit Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. at their official FB page or at their website:  http://www.mccoodavis.com

mac-by-kenny–I probably talk to “Mac,” LaMonte McLemore who has nicknamed me “Rev. Arno,” nearly every day. We are bonded for life, my always suave “brother like no other” because of his hit memoir which I had the pleasure to co-author, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension: A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography and Music,” still doing well, now in its 2nd edition.  Mac and I are always coming up with something to confer on, for instance his new song, a powerful anthem of peace, brilliantly produced by Lloyd Tolbert with sweet-soul vocal by Julio Hanson, is called “Cease Fire.” We’ve had much fun promoting this tune (its title is also a chapter name in the memoir), getting the message out to the media & the masses.  If you liked “A Love Like Ours” and “The Singer” (both penned by LaMonte), you’ll love his concept of “Cease Fire”–and guess what, Mac even does the spoken-word narration on the recording!  LaMonte has appeared on numerous radio /TV shows & podcasts this past year, a highlight was being featured in Kelly Wright’s uplifting “Beyond the Dream” series on Fox news.  About the new year, LaMonte says with his mischievously visionary smile, “Let’s do it bigger and better in 2017!”

book coverOrder “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension” on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Hobo-Flats-5th-Dimension-Photography/dp/0692307362?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

J100Download “Cease Fire” at CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/cd/lamontemclemore

Join LaMonte McLemore on his lively Facebook page; Mac is on Twitter @lamontemclemore

–This concluding “greatest hits” entry is for you! complete-singlesBut first, a hurrah that just in time for the holidays, our friends at Real Gone Music released the comprehensive 3-CD box set:  “The 5th Dimension, The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles–’66-’75” available for order at:  http://shop.realgonemusic.com/collections/upcoming/products/the-5th-dimension-the-complete-soul-city-bell-singles-3cd-set  MeTV issued a very popular article, too this past year, perhaps the opposite of “completest” with “The Story of The 5th Dimension in 5 Glorious Songs” at:  http://www.metv.com/lists/the-story-of-the-5th-dimension-in-five-glorious-songs  And our pals at Rewound Radio have The 5th prominently on their annual year-end Top 77 Hits of All-Time survey with “One Less Bell” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” still riding high.  (Listen to Rewound on the net at:  www.rewoundradio.com)

And now, what’s on your personal “5th wish list” for the new year? Taking in some concerts with some post-show photo ops with Florence & crew or Marilyn & Billy…or wanting some more CD re-issues?  (We have a few things still in the vaults by the way, but that’s another story!) And for you left-fielders, we’re working to get some “unexpected” surprises on the horizon, too!  Stay tuned, friends & fans and immeasurable thanks to each & every one of you for your continued support. And to our stars…Florence, Marilyn & Billy and LaMonte…may you shine more brightly than ever!!no-jive3-men-try-this-3

year-end-personal(Photos: The Arno 5th McCoo/Davis Legacy Collection and courtesy General Bob, Andy Gard, DeniseRose Torres, Getty Images, “LaMonte art” by Kenneth Green; Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno is a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd, copyright 2008-17, intellectual property, all rights reserved.)

Autograph Offer: The 5th Dimension–The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles 3CD Set

complete-singlesBreaking News:  The 5th Dimension–The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles 3CD Set!

In celebration of The 5th Dimension legacy’s 50 year anniversary, REAL GONE MUSIC proudly presents the most comprehensive 5th Dimension collection ever assembled!  And here’s a special autograph offer*…

autographsAll four living members (Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr.  and LaMonte McLemore) of The 5th Dimension have signed 28 copies of this set. REAL GONE MUSIC is going to take orders until 12:00 pm PST this Monday December 19, 2016 and then select the winners randomly. If you do not receive an autographed version you will get a $5 coupon good for your next order from Real Gone Music!

*PRE-ORDER NOW AT THIS LINK: 

http://shop.realgonemusic.com/collections/upcoming/products/the-5th-dimension-the-complete-soul-city-bell-singles-3cd-set

About “The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles”:

  • Back in 1966, Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., LaMonte McLemore, and Ron Townson Began Making Beautiful Music Together, and Pop-Soul Music Has Never Been the Same
  • The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles 1966-1975 Presents All the Singles the Group Recorded for the Soul City and Bell Labels, Plus Their First Single (as The Versatiles) for the Bronco Label and Their Lone Single Release for Arista
  • Three Compact Discs and 61 Tracks of Swinging, Soulful Harmonies, Brilliant Arrangements, Groundbreaking Production, and Some of the Best Songwriting to Come Out of the ‘60s and ‘70s
  • Includes 30 Pop and 15 R&B Hits, All in Their Hard-to-Find Mono Single Mixes Including Some Rare Non-LP Sides and Single Edits
  • Features Such Legendary Recordings as “Up—Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “One Less Bell to Answer,” “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All,” and “If I Could Reach You”
  • Features Production by the Great Bones Howe, Vocal Arrangements by Industry Legend Bob Alcivar, and Instrumental Accompaniment by the Famed Wrecking Crew
  • Includes the Songs (e.g. “Up—Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic”) That Brought the Songwriting Brilliance of Jimmy Webb and Laura Nyro to the Masses
  • Exquisitely Remastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios
  • Exclusive Liner Quotes from Florence LaRue, Billy Davis, Jr., Marilyn McCoo, LaMonte McLemore
  • Housed Inside a Beautiful 8-Panel Digipak Festooned with Rare Photos
  • The Summit of Sunshine Pop-Soul!

This Collection features these songs: 

Disc : 1
1. You’re Good Enough for Me
2. Bye Bye Baby
3. I’ll Be Lovin’ You Forever
4. Train Keep On Movin’
5. Go Where You Wanna Go
6. Too Poor to Die
7. Another Day, Another Heartache
8. Rosecrans Blvd.
9. Up Up & Away
10. Which Way to Nowhere
11. Paper Cup
12. Poor Side of Town
13. Carpet Man
14. The Magic Garden
15. Stoned Soul Picnic
16. The Sailboat Song
17. Sweet Blindness
18. Bobbie’s Blues (Who Do You Think Of?)
19. California Soul
20. It’ll Never Be the Same Again

Disc : 2
1. Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures)
2. Don’t Cha Hear Me Callin’ to Ya
3. Workin’ on a Groovy Thing
4. Broken Wing Bird
5. Wedding Bell Blues
6. Lovin’ Stew
7. Blowing Away
8. Skinny Man
9. The Declaration
10. A Change Is Gonna Come/People Gotta Be Free
11. The Girls’ Song
12. Puppet Man
13. A Love Like Ours
14. Save the Country
15. Dimension 5ive
16. On the Beach (In the Summertime)
17. This Is Your Life
18. One Less Bell to Answer
19. Feelin’ Alright?
20. Love’s Lines Angles & Rhymes
21. The Singer

Disc : 3
1. Light Sings
2. Viva Tirado
3. Never My Love
4. Together Let’s Find Love
5. I Just Wanna Be Your Friend
6. (Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All
7. The River Witch
8. If I Could Reach You

9. Tomorrow Belongs to the Children
10. Living Together Growing Together
11. What Do I Need to Be Me
12. Everything’s Been Changed
13. There Never Was a Day
14. Ashes to Ashes
15. Flashback
16. Diggin’ for a Livin’
17. Harlem
18. My Song
19. No Love in the Room
20. I Don’t Know How to Look for Love

Special thanks to Gordon Anderson, president of Real Gone. 

Please note:  FOREVER 5th DIMENSION will have an exclusive Q & A with Gordon, coming soon, this holiday season!

–Robert-Allan Arno

(Forever 5th Dimension, A production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., all rights reserved, copyright ’08-2016)

Merry & Bright

SANTA 5th

Our “Merry 5th-mas Viewing” Edition of Forever 5th Dimension has been updated for 2016 with special new quotes from Marilyn & Billy, Florence and LaMonte!  “Tune in” at this link:

https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2015/12/

And don’t forget our Year in Review is coming between Christmas & New Year!