Dateline February 14th–Have You Tried Love?! Happy Valentine’s Day! FOREVER 5th DIMENSION presents this recent tribute to Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.’s 44th Wedding Anniversary featuring an homage to their “greatest hits” from the fans. We released this, this past July while we were “in between” Blog locations, today is the perfect “sweetheart’s day” to re-issue our l’il treatise! Enjoy!
Love Song to Marilyn & Billy–Celebrating the Duo’s 44th Anniversary
by Robert-Allan Arno & the Fans
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. will be celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary on Friday, July 26th! As a musical toast to our favorite Grammy-winning, “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)” duo, let’s specifically “have a party” for their duet recordings, as I share a few special memories from the many times I’ve interviewed “MarBill”…with some of our ongoing “fan confabbing” sprinkled in, too! Our singing sweethearts have brought us so much love…it’s the perfect season to croon them our own collective love song!
Marilyn always savored her recording sessions, they were “top priority” she noted, also revealing, “Billy is an incredible coach when it comes to phrasing and reminding, as he says, ‘What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.'” Billy returned the compliment, “I marvel when listening to Marilyn, I love the way my wife pronounces her words!” Aren’t they cute?! Marilyn told me about a fan fave on their premier duet album, “I Hope We Get to Love In Time” called “I Still Will Be With You.” “Billy and I had a goal on that one, that our voices should sound alike, virtually as one, and I think we achieved that.” Me too, and so many fans who tell me they wished that tune would have been a single, to boot!
When I was hosting radio’s “Gospel Gold” in the ’80’s, Billy’s inspirational solo album featured a Marilyn & Billy duet, “Praise Ye the Lord.” My audience, including loyal fans of MarBill to this day, Alain & Mariette Baptiste, voted it to be the closing theme of my daily drive-time show. We all revered Marilyn’s velvety, soulful passion juxtaposed with her hubby’s textured, pastoral musings, two of music’s most recognizable song stylists, essentially emoting a prayer of gratitude. I was so excited to produce “Praise” as a YouTube video a couple of Easter’s ago, when Billy’s project was reissued as “The Love of God.”
Speaking of reissues, just in synch with MarBill’s anniversary, Real Gone Music releases (on 7/30) the duo’s second & third duet albums (expanded), “The Two of Us,” and “Marilyn & Billy.” Between the poignant single, “My Reason to Be is You” (on the second), to the addictive disco classic “Shine On Silver Moon” (on the third), there are so many hidden gems on these song sets to “re-behold!” While long-time fan Susie Paige says, “It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to it’s ‘The Two of Us,'” the title tune itself, Brian Medoro declares “Wonderful,” another single from this album, as a personal all-time fave. Then Renee Armstead joins the forum, shouting praises for “Nightsong” where MarBill reunited with their vocal arranger from The 5th Dimension’s “glory days,” Bob Alcivar; that familiar layered “5th wall of sound” echoes all throughout the tasty tune’s “movin’ and groovin’.” FOREVER 5th DIMENSION just produced “I’m So Glad I Found You” as a YouTube video (see link below), it’s a bonus on “The Two of Us,” previously only appearing as the flip-side of the single, “I Hope We Get to Love In Time.” The song is a Motown meets Jazzy romp that’s a tip of the hat to Marilyn’s roots with the Hi-Fi’s, Billy’s on the early eclectic club scene.
Faithful fans like Susan Aglio, Loretta Sorensen and Dale Kocik smoothly travel back, prompting a “group hug” for the MarBill duets on The 5th Dimension’s “Love’s Lines” and “Live” albums– when Sue thoughtfully chooses “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love),” then Loretta says she’s joyfully reminded of “Every Night,” both from the former, while Dale is partial to the driving yet tender “Together, Let’s Find Love” on the latter. Emiko “Emmy” Ikedo from Japan enthusiastically reminds us not to forget “Soul & Inspiration,” from the 5th album of the same title!
The emotional “Keep the Lovelight Burning,” a MarBill duet of faith from Marilyn’s solo inspirational CD, “The Me Nobody Knows” is tops on fan, John Estes’ list. And didn’t we all get misty over “I Believe In You and Me,” in a class with The 4 Tops and Whitney Houston’s versions. This duet was featured on Marilyn’s “Solid Gold” album and was later re-recorded as a bonus to Marilyn & Billy’s moving memoir, “Up-Up & Away.”
Others, as evidenced by over 68 thousand “visits” of our YouTube production, are enthralled by the duo’s contemporary take on “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” from their recent “The Many Faces of Love” project. And how thrilling when, from the same interactive CD, MarBill’s luscious testimony to long-term marriage, “How Do You Keep the Music Playing” was featured on “Nancy for Frank,” Nancy Sinatra’s popular Sirius-XM show, that heralds the song stylings that embody her father’s. Billy shared with me this revelation for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, “Singing a song is like getting to act in a ‘mini movie.'” Marilyn added with grace, “And when it comes to that Alan and Marilyn Bergman song on the beauty of keeping a relationship fresh, ‘How Do You Keep the Music Playing’ is just like our own personal movie.” “That’s right,” Billy winked as the two laughed in perfect pitch, perhaps the sweetest MarBill sound of all.
God bless you Marilyn & Billy, your example of loving harmony in your music, in your life, is forever one of the brightest “stars in our show!”
Robert & the Fans
Robert-Allan Arno– Biographer, The original 5th Dimension
(Copyright 2013, FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd.)
*Don’t forget Marilyn & Billy’s new double volume LIVE CD*! Order at: http://www.McCooDavis.com
*See our special review of LIVE at: https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/review-marilyn-mccoo-billy-davis-jr-live/
**Enjoy these Marilyn & Billy duets, produced for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, on YouTube:
–“I’m So Glad I Found You:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q5iBOCsDg4
–“You Make Me Feel Brand New:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5wCOLnn0F8
–“Praise Ye the Lord”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTRtdfjm4ng
–“I Hope We Get to Love in Time” (Live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cp2TTx4wo4
–“Land of Make Believe:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZGT1X04uEk
–“This Moment in Time:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzwczmBE3qU
–“Soul & Inspiration” (Un-vaulted Version): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-vRlvNUPzY