Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 Greatest Forever 5th Hits!

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Thanks for your continued support of FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, now entering its seventh year!  We’ve had 39 blog entries this year, 72 photos posted, and thousands and thousands of visitors from all over the world according to the nifty year-end stats just provided by the nice folks at WordPress. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve personally spent wonderful time with Marilyn & Billy (backstage after their Christmas show), Florence (at dinner and attending the Broadway show, After Midnight), and LaMonte (nearly every day on the phone!)…you know by reading all the recounts or getting to see “MarBill” in concert or Florence & The 5th on stage, they are all as vibrant as ever!  And “Mac” is as entertaining, while we have confabbed about his memoir (From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension) to bring you its launch this Valentine’s Day…we’re calling it the “A Love Like Ours” tour…celebrating the love of music, photography, baseball and for and from the fans!

Here’s our Top 5 of 2014 (in no necessary order!), with easy links so you can catch up on or relive some of the recent memories.  And here’s to a super-special 2015…may we enjoy our still-brightest stars as we continue to let the sunshine in…

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

FULL IMAGE MARBILL1.  IN-CONCERT!  Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. tour to the best reviews of their careers from “Catalina to Christmas!”  Here’s a joint review of their Catalina Jazz club gig from fans, Deniserose and Jonathan:
https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/it-takes-two-baby/

2.  LIVE!  The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue sell-out wherever they appear.  Here’s a review by fan, John Estes, where Florence, Patrice, Willie, Leonard & Floyd raise the roof:The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue
https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/florence-the-5th-dimension-a-special-concert-review/

Story3.  AWARDS & EVENTS!  Marilyn & Billy appear on countless radio and TV shows throughout the year and receive the Gordon Parks award:
https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/marilyn-and-billy-to-receive-gordon-parks-award/

Florence & The 5th Dimension appear on many local morning TV shows, as they tour the country.  FLORENCE BIRTHDAYAnd Florence receives an honor from the White House:
https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/552/

Aug. 9th--Breaking News!  Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. reunite with Florence LaRue and The 5th Dimension for a one-night only magic moment, during the

Aug. 9th–Breaking News! Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. join Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension for a one-night only magic moment with a “Let the Sunshine In”  finale. Ms. LaRue and today’s 5th performed to a sold-out crowd at LA’s prestigious Saban Theater. (l to r: Willie Williams, McCoo, Davis, LaRue, Patrice Morris, Leonard Tucker, Floyd Smith, photo courtesy P. Morris Collection)

TOGETHER!  Marilyn & Billy were guests of Florence & The 5th Dimension, joining them for a chorus of “Let the Sunshine In”

PLAYLIST SCAN 0014.  RELEASES & REISSUES!  Numerous CD re-issues and a new compilation appeared in ’14 from Earthbound to Playlist: The Very Best of The 5th Dimension, the latter which I had the honor to co-compile with the stars and do liners for.  Here’s a CD recap:  https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/something-for-everyone-a-picnic-of-champagne-soul-delights/

Lamonte and Robert look to the horizon5.  MAC’S MEMOIR!  LaMonte McLemore’s long-awaited memoir is called From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension:  A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography and Music.  Yours truly, Robert-Allan Arno is the project’s as-told-to author.  It officially gets released on Valentine’s Day ’15…stay tuned to FOREVER 5th DIMENSION for further information including signings, media appearances, ordering details, etc.  Here’s a Press Release on the celeb-studded book, with recommendations by Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra and Neil Sedaka:
https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/lamonte-mclemore-of-the-5th-dimension-to-release-autobiographical-memoir-as-told-to-robert-allan-arno/

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABONUS!  Marilyn & Billy–who celebrated 45 years of marriage this year!–never cease to show their support for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION.  Read their much appreciated “Lines of Love”–https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/lines-of-love-from-marilyn-billy/

cropped-ytf-two.jpgLINKS TO THE STARS & their events:

Join Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. on Facebook (official) or visit http://mccoodavis.com/

Visit Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension at  http://thefifthdimension.org/

Join LaMonte McLemore at Linked-In  www.linkedin.com/pub/lamonte-mclemore/aa/97a/28b

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LaMonte McLemore’s 2014 Holiday Message

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LaMonte McLemore by Benny Clay

Dear Fans, Family & Friends,

This has been a special year, the star on my tree would be my cherished mother’s 100th birthday celebration this past June…and she continues to shine brightly! I can’t thank all of you enough for your continued kind words, support and enthusiasm about The 5th Dimension’s and my photographic legacies. And how cool that Pharrell Williams mentioned my longtime work for JET’s “Beauty of the Week” in a recent edition of EBONY magazine!

As many of you know, I still enjoy playing softball nearly every day where I reside in Las Vegas. My biographer and good pal, Robert-Allan Arno and I are looking to hit another “home run” at the start of the new year with the release of my memoir, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension: A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography, and Music.” With recommendations by Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, Neil Sedaka, and Otis Williams of The Temptations, who could be luckier?! We’ll provide the schedule for the official release date, book signings and media appearances for you here at FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, right after the New Year’s–stay tuned!

LaMonte Xmas SantaOn behalf of my lovely wife Mieko, I say “right on,” and God bless you and yours this Christmas and always.

Warmly,

LaMonte

P.S. Please join me on LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/pub/lamonte-mclemore/aa/97a/28b

Marilyn & Billy Dazzle with “Solid Gold Christmas”

StarMcCoo-and-Davis-hugging-from-The-Brokaw-Co_WEBMarilyn & Billy’s “Solid Gold Christmas”–the East Coast leg of their tour at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in New Jersey–was jam-packed with all the greatest hits and fan favorites…an intermission…and then ANOTHER complete show with stage cheerfully decked out as a “winter wonderland.”  The ravishing Miss McCoo (in three gown changes this concert!) and dapper Mr. Davis performed every style of holiday fare from deeply personal faith-reflecting Inspirational/Gospel, to jaunty Blues, from Jazzy “Jingle Bells,” to Pop confections, Torchy “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” to four-part harmony (think “Christmastime is Here” sans Charlie Brown, but very “Champagne Soul.”)  It was truly Christmas done the “MarBill” way, garnering at least a half-dozen heartfelt standing ovations. And what made it an absolute holiday dream come true?  Our 45 years-married, youthful-looking stars are in better voice than ever, if possible to imagine topping those trademark creamy rich McCoo/tonally-textured Davis cords accompanied by each of their emotionally powerful interpretations. Now, this is the type of show that should be taped for perennial seasonal broadcast! Special kudos to Music Director Darrell Alston.

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I leave you with a select song list–this time I sat back and savored it all, no notes!  I told this to Marilyn and Billy afterward and we had tears in our eyes in our hand-holding fellowship.  I think we thought, “What a blessing to have shared such magic for decades and to be able to look forward to continued bright horizons in the new year!”

Robert-Allan Arno

Select Song List:  SOLID GOLD CHRISTMAS CONCERT
Part 1
Up-Up and Away…You Don’t Have to Be a Star…Stoned Soul Picnic (complete with fringed vests!)…Wedding Bell Blues…
One Less Bell to Answer…When a Man Loves a Woman…
How Sweet It Is…Steppin’ Out…You are so Beautiful…
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

Part 2
All I Want for Christmas Is You (MarBill do Mariah!)
The Christmas Song (Marilyn solo)
Jingle Bells (a la their Jazzy recording)
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (from Marilyn’s White Christmas CD)
Winter Wonderland (w/ audience participation)
Away in a Manger (Billy)…Silent Night (Marilyn)
Christmastime is Here (in 4 part harmony)
Christmas Baby, Please Come Home (MarBill do Darlene Love!)
Go Tell It on the Mountain (Billy solo)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas…Little Drummer Boy (the band)
Please Come Home for Christmas (Bells Will Be Ringing)  (Billy’s St. Louis Blues!)
O Holy Night (Marilyn’s tour-de-force)

MERRY 5th-MAS!

SANTA 5th

I once asked mega producer of The 5th Dimension, Bones Howe, why the original quintet never recorded a holiday tune or better yet, a Christmas album and his response was practical.  “Robert, it never dawned on me.  The group was on the road so much, touring, that my time in the studio with them was limited.  Don’t get me wrong, recording was first priority for The 5th, but my goal was to keep getting us hits.”

And so, FOREVER 5th DIMENSION brings you some “later day” holiday treats from Santa’s Champagne Soul goody bag, from Marilyn & Billy…Florence…and special new year news from LaMonte…

“Merry 5th-mas!”  from The 5th Dimension Family,
Robert-Allan Arno
Biographer–The original 5th Dimension,   LaMonte McLemore

MARBILL’S JINGLE BELLS:  Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. are embarking on their select “Solid Gold Christmas” tour and have lotsa’ concerts already set for the new year!  Check out more at their official Facebook page or at www.mccoodavis.com  Here’s the duo’s jazzy version of “Jingle Bells.”  “We had so much fun arranging this together at the piano,” Marilyn shared with a smile.  Billy added, “Robert, we think we got it just right!”  In this FOREVER 5th DIMENSION production, I tagged the “jazzy bells” with a snippet of The original 5th emoting “Joy to the World”…the Three Dog Night version!

FLORENCE’S “GROWN-UP CHRISTMAS LIST:” In the 90’s, Florence LaRue recorded a limited edition CD single of this modern favorite. It’s been out of print for quite a while (we’ve featured a “live” performance of it, previously), but now a fan has kindly put the recording of “My Grown-up Christmas List” on YouTube. Enjoy this heartwarming interpretation that’s pure LaRue.  And remember, Florence and The current 5th Dimension perform to sold-out crowds all year long.  Visit www.thefifthdimension.org to check the latest touring schedule of Florence with Patrice, Willie, Leonard and Floyd!

MARILYN & DONNA:  During her “Solid Gold” hosting days, on this special Christmas edition, Marilyn was joined by her good friend, Donna Summer for an unforgettable duet of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Marilyn and Billy stated to FOREVER 5th, in unison, “We miss Donna.”  We share this stirring duet in memory of Miss Summer.

LaMONTE NEWS:  LaMonte McLemore is excited!  His long-awaited memoir, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension,” as told to Robert-Allan Arno, promises to be another hit for “Mac,” due at the dawning of new year 2015.  With recommendations by Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, Neil Sedaka and Otis William of the Temptations, the book’s official release date, plus subsequent tour, and Mac’s media appearances will be announced, soon.  LaMonte invites you to connect with him at his new LinkedIn page for the latest details.

Join LaMonte McLemore on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/lamonte-mclemore/aa/97a/28bLaMonte Xmas Santa

By the way, our FOREVER 5th DIMENSION year-end Top 10 countdown…2014’s “Greatest Hits” of The 5th Dimension Family of stars, will be here at the blog between Christmas and New Year…thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm!!