Monthly Archives: September 2014

Happy Birthday, Miss McCoo!

 Happy Birthday Marilyn 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISS McCOO
FOREVER 5th DIMENSION Celebrates “The Marilyn Solos”
 by Robert-Allan Arno & the Fans

September 30th–  It’s that memorable date when we get to celebrate not only the exquisite lady but “The Marilyn Solos,” those timeless recorded jewels that become impossibly more lovely with every year, just like La McCoo herself. Marilyn told me for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION that, “Even above our intensive touring, our recording sessions were always top priority.” Producer Bones Howe added, “Marilyn was so focused in the studio, all the members of The 5th Dimension were utmost professionals, but she would nail those solos of hers in a few takes, she always knew exactly where she was going.” The gracious songstress responded, “Oh, how wonderful to hear that from Bones, you know, my husband Billy (Davis, Jr.) helped me greatly with my phrasing.”  And greats like Neil Sedaka (“Puppet Man,” “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing,”), Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson (“California Soul”), and Richard Addrisi (“Never My Love”) have told me for FOREVER 5th that Marilyn’s heartfelt way with a tune, from her torch treatments to more playful stylings, not only make her a beguiling star but a true “singer’s singer.”  And wait, the multi-Tony award winning Audra MacDonald  just cited Marilyn as an initial influence; “Marilyn McCoo has a beautiful voice,” she giggles like a kid, still enamored of the 7-time Grammy winning legend.

Of course the fans are “smitten” too and our special survey of select longtime members of the “McCoo Crew” certainly heralds a diverse array of faves. Just as REWOUND Radio this past weekend honored Marilyn’s birthday with her personal favorite solo, the transcendental “Love’s Lines, Angles and Rhymes,” Susan Aglio and Dave Maze both cast their votes for the soul-stirring “If I Could Reach You.”  “I think of ‘One Less Bell to Answer’ by Burt Bacharach and Hal David as Marilyn’s signature,” firmly states Susie Paige, while Alain Baptiste recalls, “‘One Less Bell’ was a major hit on our top Soul stations like WBLS, as well as on the Pop charts.”  Fans Deniserose Torres and Jonathan Weitz who just saw Marilyn & Billy sizzle at the Catalina Jazz club, share their joint account, “I’m speechless to describe Marilyn’s ‘One Less Bell,’ it’s too beautiful for any words I could come up with,” says Denise, while Jonathan concurs about the song’s “live” version, “Nothing is better than when Marilyn sings ‘One Less Bell’ to a well-deserved standing ovation!new mar mar

Brian Medoro reflects on the poignancy of “Everything’s Been Changed,” a Paul Anka-penned treatise on lost love that Loretta Sorensen adores.  Sorensen, a dedicated McCoo-follower declares, “I feel so fortunate to have heard Marilyn’s music most of my life!”  Marilyn laughs in her mellifluous way, “Even as a young girl, I loved a sad song.  I’d be singing about ‘the man that got away’ to the refrigerator light!”  “‘When Did I Lose Your Love’ is one not often mentioned,” reminds Douglas C. Charles, about Marilyn’s “velvety” take from the rare “Earthbound” album, finally re-issued on CD this past year. Another rarity is “House for Sale,” from “Soul & Inspiration.”  John Estes comments about this story-song, “Every syllable is heard as she caresses the lyric.” “It wasn’t recorded, but I so strongly remember Marilyn’s in-concert version of Paul Williams’ ‘Loneliness,'” enthuses Renee Armstead.  And in my recent review of Marilyn & Billy’s latest 2 volume LIVE CD, I had this to say about an all-new Marilyn showstopper:

Marilyn McCoo, whose eternal beauty seemingly reflects the incandescent soul of her silky voice, does something uncanny here.  She’s found a tune from a recent Clint Eastwood movie that’s “pure Marilyn,” it seamlessly fits as an extension of her body of solos that are her fans’ cherished gems. There’s a soupcon of “Never My Love,” “If I Could Reach You,” “Open Your Window,” and more, in her spectacularly delicate yet empowered treatment of the jazzy ballad, “Why Should I Care.”  Yes, McCoo should sing every theme song of every movie out there, I just bet you’ll be thinking!

For another movie theme, one that didn’t get released formally but is a smash on YouTube as a FOREVER 5th DIMENSION production, savor “I’m On Your Side.”  From the classic flick, CHAPTER TWO, Marilyn’s gentle tour-de-force has garnered an outpouring of emotional comments from fans, world-wide.  Here’s the link to that treasure:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiv6zYgyS-8

Lilting fare like the chart-topping gold of “Wedding Bell Blues” (Laura Nyro), and “Last Night I Didn’t Get to Sleep” (Tony Macaulay) were top jukebox songs of all time…an interesting factoid as we “Flashback” (Alan O’Day).  “For the creamiest-voiced chanteuse of them all, Marilyn’s ‘Never My Love’ is huge!” exclaims Gabriel Pellegrino. Emiko “Emmy” Ikeda remarks all the way from Japan, that also unforgettable are the inspirational “The Me Nobody Knows,” plus the first recorded version of “Saving All My Love for You.”

As a perennial favorite, Marilyn’s gossamer yet mighty interpretation of “O Holy Night” from her Christmas CD, is one fans look forward to her delivering on this year’s “Solid Gold” Christmas tour.   McCoo & Davis will present a festive evening of selections from hits to holiday chestnuts done with sparkling Pop-Soul. (see appearance schedule at http://www.mccoodavis.com)
 
 “I wanted that song to have a different feel than anything I’ve done,” Marilyn confided to FOREVER 5th DIMENSION about the swoon-inducing “Open Your Window.”  “And take a deep sigh,” the diva of finesse continues to “coo” as the Harry Nilsson-penned delectable unfolds. We’ve been collectively taking that sigh, mesmerized by Miss McCoo on a journey past and present, with the delightful promise of more “magic moments” from Marilyn, on the horizon. Leave it to Marilyn McCoo to deliver a gift to her countless fans, as we toast her own special day. 

(Copyright 2014, FOREVER 5th DIMENSION for the Soul of the Voice, Ltd.)

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LaMonte Celebrates Birthday Anticipating His Memoir

9/17/14–Today we honor the birthday of the founder of The 5th Dimension, Mr. LaMonte McLemore.  This is a very special day as LaMonte and I have worked diligently on the story of his life for the past 4 years and we expect FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5th DIMENSION, A LIFE FULFILLED IN BASEBALL, PHOTOGRAPHY AND MUSIC to come your way between Christmas and New Year season…it is a memoir of heart, soul, history, humor and inspiration.  There are awesome rare photos galore, but of course and even a recipe!

1st hilacopter ride

Last Mac and I told you about the many celebrities that will be spotlighted throughout FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5th DIMENSION’S pages, and today as a special “preview” birthday celebration treat, we wanted you to know about the songs from The 5th Dimension songbook that he gets to talk about in-depth, giving you the inside scoop from his “mellow bass” perspective.  In his memoir, you’ll read about:  “Go Where You Wanna Go,” “Up-Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Orange Air,” “Requium: 820 Latham,” “The Girls’ Song,” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “The Declaration/A Change Is Gonna Come/People Gotta Be Free,” “A Love Like Ours,” “One Less Bell,” “Light Sings,” “The Singer,” …Modeling in LA“MacArthur Park,” “Love Medley” “Ode to Billie Joe,” “Black Patch,” “Sky and Sea,” “Living Together, Growing Together,” “Day by Day,” “No Love in the Room,” “Walk Your Feet in the Sunshine,” “I Got a Feeling,” “Love Hangover,” more!

Leave it to “Mac” to give his fans a gift on his own special day…but his cherished Grandma always taught him to “give back,” you’ll learn of Grandma Gertrude’s special wisdom all through the book, too!

Now, please leave your birthday greetings for LaMonte!

Robert-Allan Arno
Biographer, LaMonte McLemore and The original 5th Dimension

You can view the official in-depth Press Release on FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5th DIMENSION at:  https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/lamonte-mclemore-of-the-5th-dimension-to-release-autobiographical-memoir-as-told-to-robert-allan-arno/

(Photos courtesy of LaMonte McLemore Collection)

The fans say…

  • Robt Clark Have a great day Mr. McLemore!
  •  Susie Paige Sending love your way for a wonderful birthday Lamonte! 🎂 I hope you and Robert have a book signing in Philly.
  •  Evelyn Geatros Great shot Lamonte
  •  Renee T Armstead Happy Birthday Lamonte! We love you! Can’t wait for your book to come out. I hope you and Mieko enjoy your special day.
  •  Estes John Happy Birthday Lamonte
  •  Brian Medoro Happy Birthday! Stay young as always. Have a great day.
  •  Elston Harry Happy birthday from The Friends of Distinction Family
  •  Douglas C. Charles Happy Birthday you handsome devil!! So looking forward to buying and reading your book. Hope to get it autographed some day. God Bless and Many Happy Returns.

It Takes Two, Baby!

“Forever 5th Dimension” is so pleased to present this compendium review of our fave duo, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. at Catalina Jazz Club over Labor Day Weekend.  Very special thanks to “a duo” of wonderful fans, Deniserose Torres & Jonathan Weitz!!  –Robert

MARILYN & BILLY’S CATALINA LOVE-IN BRINGS JOY

Jonathan:  I had a fantastic time seeing Marilyn & Billy last Friday at Catalina Jazz Club. Marilyn looked stunning in a leopard print dress, Billy was quite sharp in his dark blue suit. The sold out and star-studded crowd was overjoyed once they took the stage.
Deniserose:  The show started with “It Takes Two” and continued with “How Sweet It Is”…which while singing to each other, you feel they are speaking to everyone in the audience as well.jonathan oneJonathan: 
Next were some goodies from The 5th Dimension songbook– “Up-Up and Away” and “Wedding Bell Blues.”
Deniserose:  Billy’s soulful rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come” is showstopping.
Jonathan: 
Their most popular hit as a duo, “You Don’t Have To Be A Star,” was followed by sublime surprises…
Deniserose:  Marilyn shares with us her breathtaking rendition of the song she sang when she played Julie in SHOWBOAT on Broadway, “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man.”
Jonathan: 
And she does one of my personal favorites, “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All,”
Deniserose:   Just when you think it can’t get any better, they let you know it can with Billy’s “I’m Just A Lucky So And So,”…a Quartet version of “Blue Indigo,”… the jazzy “Got to Get You Into My Life”…
Jonathan:  
and a Beatles Medley that had everyone singing along!
Deniserose:   “Because You Love Me” is next which demonstrates how they can make a song so tender and powerful at the same time. Billy then grabs your soul and gets it dancing with the Blues song “Let the Good Times Roll!”
Jonathan:  
Nothing is better than when Marilyn sings “One Less Bell To Answer,” to a well-deserved standing ovation!jonathan two Deniserose:  I’m speechless to describe Marilyn’s “One Less Bell to Answer,” it’s too beautiful for any of the words I could come up with.  “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” was the first song I ever heard The 5th Dimension sing…I was 9 years old and I just knew that must have been how angels sing! Hearing it again on this occasion at Catalina Jazz Club has only strengthened that opinion.
Jonathan
The love-fest flows ’till the very end as Billy’s poignant “Lean On Me/Love Train” with Marilyn and the talented backup singers has all in attendance hopping aboard!jonathan 3Deniserose:  Marilyn & Billy’s energy is infectious, their performance inspirational and like my mama told me all those many years ago…they perform with such JOY!
Jonathan: 
The Dynamic Duo is always on point and consistently entertains their audience with no signs of slowing down!

(Photos courtesy Jonathan Weitz Collection)

>>Visit Marilyn & Billy, their official page on Facebook or at http://www.mccoodavis.com

Labor Day 5th Memory…

It was ’71 and after a major summer touring schedule in the states (NY fans STILL talk about the Forest Hills stadium appearance!) and a top-rated network TV special (“Traveling Sunshine Show”), The 5th Dimension–Marilyn, Florence, Billy, Ronald & LaMonte– were the featured guests for the finale of the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. The songs performed were a LIVE version of “Light Sings,” then Marilyn stepped forward to unveil The 5th’s new single, “Never My Love.” It was all pretty thrilling!light sings all over the world light sings photo light sings two

As awesome fan reviews of “MarBill” at Catalina Jazz Club this holiday weekend are coming in on Marilyn & Billy’s official Facebook page, The 5th Dimension Family wishes you a blessed, peaceful Labor Day Weekend…may the Light sing!! 

And remember, The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue;

group founder, LaMonte McLemore;

and the duo of Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.,

EACH have exciting endeavors this coming fall and holiday season…stay tuned!! —Robert-Allan Arno

Hear LIGHT SINGS, a quintessential fan fave by The 5th Dimension, (from the Broadway show “The Me Nobody Knows”) at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxXxX5Z0f0g