Monthly Archives: July 2016

Happy 47th, Marilyn & Billy–Sweethearts of Pop n’ Soul

new marbill don' likeFOREVER 5th DIMENSION is so pleased to celebrate the 47th wedding anniversary of Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., those forever fresh “sweethearts of Pop n’ Soul.”  Touring to the best reviews of their career with both sizzling concert evenings and special Broadway-like “Up-Up and Away–a musical fable” extravaganzas, these 7-time Grammy winners are timeless treasures in our lives.  How do we count the ways?  How about a retrospective featuring our recent favorite interview with the dynamic duo and links to some FOREVER 5th DIMENSION duet rarities from our popular YouTube channel…plus select fan greetings AND a gracious note from “MarBill,” themselves. Oh, and exclusive on-stage photos from Theater at Westbury this past June!  Join us, as we honor Marilyn and Billy…and all the love, harmony, and artistic excellence they stand for.  —Robert-Allan Arno

Singing in the Light CollageFave Q & A:
Among the many interviews we’ve done over the years, this is a true fan-fave. The engaging duo joined me here at FOREVER 5th a year ago to have some “coffee talk” as we laughed, cried and shared some pretty unique thoughts on the music, the magic and even had a mini Master Class. Read “Marilyn & Billy: Singing in the Light” at:  https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/marilyn-billy-singing-in-the-light/

 

Take a MarBill Listen:

Researching“You Make Me Feel Brand New”–With over 135 THOUSAND views, this has become a bona fide YouTube hit, from the duo’s recent THE MANY FACES OF LOVE project.  We proudly note, our FOREVER 5th production of the tune was chosen to play on-screen in introducing Marilyn & Billy as they accepted the prestigious Gordon Parks award.  Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5wCOLnn0F8

marilyn-mccoo“I Hope We Get to Love in Time, Live”–Ultra-rare, we remastered this from the beloved “Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Show.” The first African-American married couple to have their own variety series, this “live” version of the title tune from Marilyn & Billy’s first duet album is adored by fans, courtesy of JuneBug Productions.  And there’s a bonus…wait to the end and hear the show’s closing tune, “The Two of Us” (and try not to shed a sentimental tear!)  Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cp2TTx4wo4

Soul Soul Soul“Soul and Inspiration, Un-vaulted”–As lead singers of The Original 5th Dimension, by ’74 producer Bones Howe wanted to open the album of the same title not only with a Marilyn & Billy duet, but with a retro feel. The actual disc featured a different mix and solely Billy doing the “recitation”…we got the OK to release from the vaults a taste of the original…more horns, and more so, Marilyn complimenting Billy, beautifully in her spoken word response.  Approved by “MarBill” themselves, we’ll call this a gem!  Link:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-vRlvNUPzY

marBill 2“Praise Ye The Lord”–From Billy’s Gospel project, re-issued as “The Love of God,” Marilyn is “special guest” on a song that the duo performed for Pope John Paul II.  This inspirational recording has become an Easter perennial for fans, yet is a faith-based song for all seasons.  Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTRtdfjm4ng

RARE MARBILL ARMS“I’m So Glad I Found You”–Part Motown homage a la Marvin & Tammi, part Jazzy note-bending call & response with a tip of the hat to Marilyn’s roots with the Hi-Fi’s and Billy’s on the early eclectic club scene.  “I’m So Glad…” had previously only appeared as a flip-side to the single “I Hope We Get to Love In Time,” circa ’76 and resurfaced as a bonus to the expanded re-issue of Marilyn & Billy’s second duet album, “The Two of Us.”  By fan request, we produced this “goodie” for FOREVER 5th.  Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q5iBOCsDg4

Here’s a montage…
of extraordinary on-stage shots…we were in the front row of Theater at Westbury to cheer on MarBill’s “Up-Up and Away–a musical fable” tour, something that should be destined for Broadway, itself.  My guest, “Pastor Martha” took these in June, we saved them just for you, the fans, for this anniversary edition, so enjoy!  And for our FOREVER 5th DIMENSION review of the show (“Marilyn & Billy Bring An Irresistible Musical Fable”), now also featured at www.mccoodavis.com, go here:  https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/marilyn-billy-bring-an-irresistible-musical-fable/
Here’s an array of greetings from special fans, friends & media pros, not only celebrating MarBill’s anniversary but noting some favorite tunes, especially from their seminal first duet recording–the “I Hope We Get to Love in Time” album:

John Van Camp Congratulations Marilyn and Billy! We’ll give you a shout-out Tuesday morning on BossBossRadio.com on the morning show between 6 & 9 am, PDT.

Dale Kocik Happy Anniversary and thanks for sharing your talent and kindness with the world.  Love them all but if I absolutely had to pick a favorite it would be “Together Lets Find Love,”…and “Every Night.”  I had to throw a second favorite in there!

 William Q. Singleton (aka Bill Quinn, Metromedia Radio) Marilyn and Billy, congratulations on 47 years of wedded bliss, and thank you for your amazing gift of music to the world!

Susie Paige Sending Philly love your way

Susie Paige's photo.

Susan Aglio Happy Anniversary, Marilyn and Billy!! Blessings to both of you!
Hiromi Hirahata Congratulations to the most beautiful couple! I wish you two have a wonderful anniversary and many more happy years together.

Jim Handakas Your abiding respect and love for each other transcends your beautiful music. Thank you for sharing so freely with so many of us. It’s been a joyous ride.

Robyn Pippins Dear Marilyn & Billy, I want to wish you a Happy 47th Anniversary. I love your singing, but what I love most about you, is the love and respect you have for each other.  David Roberson Happy anniversary, Marilyn and Billy! Best wishes for many more.

Estes John Happy Anniversary to our beloved musical couple, still going strong after all of these years. I love almost every track on this (your first duet) album but my all time favorite is the hit and Grammy winner “You Don’t Have To Be A Star” and “My Love For You…”
Alain Baptiste My wife and I loved Marilyn and Billy as teens and of course still do, their book is on our “best shelf” and LaMonte McLemore‘s memoir, as well! The song NOTHING CAN STOP ME is too beautiful for words. Happy Anniversary and God bless from Mariette and Alain
Janice Berte Happy Anniversary Billy and Marilyn. You both are INCREDIBLE!
Deniserose Torres God has blessed us with your music, may He continue to bless you with love and happiness. Happy Anniversary.  My favorites (from your first duet album) – “Never Gonna Let You Go, ” “My Love for You (Will Always be the Same),” “You Can’t Change My Heart,” and of course, “You Don’t Have to be a Star.”
Marilyn+McCoo+Billy+Davis+Jr+Wildlife+WayStation+SIoD42FOyjOxJohn Howton Congrats to Marilyn & Billy. And thank you for your timeless music & for being such a “class act” always! As a matter of fact, I was hiking today & listening to my tunes & had my tunes on “shuffle” when all of a sudden “Black Patch” came on!! I must have replayed it no less than 5 times – in AWE of those GORGEOUS harmonies!!! Luv u two!
Paul Corley Congratulations on your 47th anniversary, Marilyn and Billy! From your first duet with The Versatiles, “Bye, Bye Baby,” to your current “Up, Up, and Away–a musical fable” tour, you have generously shared your love and talent with rest of the world. Thank you for your grace and style, and for the joy that you have given to your numerous fans.
Martha E. Vink Happy Anniversary, Marilyn and Billy! Your love and faith shine from you, and you inspire us all. May God continue to bless you with love and laughter, and bless us with YOU, for years and years to come!
Renee T Armstead Hi Marilyn and Billy: Happy 47th wedding anniversary! You are a wonderful example for the institution of marriage. May you share many more years together. Love to you both.
Andy Gard Beyond your obvious musical gifts, you two are a (well-matched) pair of quality human beings, and the comments on here speak to that. Wishing you many more years of love and happiness.
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Dreams Come True
A Commentary by Robert-Allan Arno
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Marilyn and Billy have supported the FOREVER 5th DIMENSION blog since its inception–when they literally encouraged my developing the concept, 8 years ago…yes, it’s our anniversary, too!  They’ve not only read each edition with relish, watched the YouTubes and given kudos, but on a personal level, they’ve watched out for my “other career” in acting, and voice-acting.  They’ve tuned in to every appearance I’ve made on national TV as a Bible reader on THE SUNDAY MASS broadcast, and so much more.  And LaMonte McLemore and I can never, ever forget their special attendance at our Las Vegas book launch of Mac’s memoir, something I had the honor to co-write, FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5th DIMENSION.

MCCOO DAVIS ARNO BLACK WHITE

As a kid growing up on Long Island, learning “The Declaration (of Independence)” with the rest of you based on The 5th Dimension’s recording, Marilyn, Billy, Florence, LaMonte and the beloved Ron were cool n’ classy heroes that represented a brighter day.  They were proof positive that talent and a work ethic could create beauty and unity. They were the catalyst for dreams that could come true. And this blog and their loyalty and encouragement is in many ways, part of their earliest promise, made in the lyrics of Jimmy Webb’s “Up-Up and Away”: “If you hold my hand, we’ll chase your dream across the sky…for we can fly.”  And did we fly!!  Here’s to more, wherever that beautiful balloon takes us, in God’s time and eternal wisdom. 

Happy 47th Anniversary Marilyn & Billy, with much Love,

Robert

A Letter from Marilyn & Billy, July 2016

Dear Robert,

We want to thank you for all of the wonderful work you do on the Forever 5th Blog.  What a beautiful retrospective of our lives!  It’s so full of our memories and experiences, and you’ve laid it out in such a riveting way that certainly holds one’s attention.   There are unexpected moments, intermingled with special events that forever stand out in our minds.  You’ve found photos that we haven’t seen in years, many we’ve forgotten we’d taken, special times when the group enjoyed private laughs (and Lamonte’s jokes!) about what was happening at that very moment.  How you’ve found those photos and instinctively know their importance continues to amaze us.  The blog is a special revisiting of our lives, our appearances and interviews, our accomplishments.

Black White Columbus Day

Thank you again for the time, thought and energy you put into the chronicling of Florence’s, Lamonte’s, Ronald’s and our lives.  We don’t know how many times, or in how many ways, we can tell you what a blessing you are!  We continue to watch what you’re doing and the goals you’re striving toward so we can give you the encouragement and support you constantly give us.

With our love and appreciation always,

Billy & Marilyn

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Visit Marilyn & Billy at  www.mccoodavis.com or at their official Facebook page

Special thanks to Martha Vink, for photos from her exclusive collection

Many thanks to the fans for your comments & enthusiasm, and to Sterling/Winters–Kathy and  Steve–and to Randall, LaMonte and Florence, always.

(Forever 5th Dimension, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., all rights reserved, copyright 2008-16, Robert-Allan Arno)

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