Happy Birthday, Marilyn: Colleagues Salute Her Stellar Songs

“As soon as we first met, I knew she’d be a star. Today, Marilyn never ceases to surpass herself.”–Jimmy Webb ~ “Who does not like if not revere Marilyn? She is the personification of beauty and class.”–LaMonte McLemore ~ “Marilyn is ‘the singer’s singer.’ I am a true fan.”–Neil Sedaka

Dateline Sept. 30: Fans & friends, this particular Sunday is a very special one as we celebrate Marilyn McCoo‘s birthday, today. On Facebook & Twitter, you’ve joined us this past week as we’ve counted down her greatest vocal solos accompanied by celebrity accolades. And your thoughtful reactions–the world over–on each thread, were magnificent. Just take a view of Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Official on Facebook, or review the @mccoodavis Twitter feed!

Personally, like many of you, the eternal grace of Marilyn McCoo has made my life all the brighter. Each shining “Marilyn song”…every TV appearance…all the “live” concerts with The Original 5th Dimension, solo, or with hubby Billy…from Carnegie Hall to Atlantic City to Las Vegas…remain unforgettable. Working with Marilyn & Billy daily, presenting their social media, and on special projects like liner notes and Forever 5th Dimension exclusives, is a magnificent experience. The “chemistry” simply gels, with always something new & exciting to learn as we share much joy in creating! Fans & friends, as we all extend our appreciation, best wishes and blessings to Marilyn on the occasion of her birthday, Forever 5th Dimension presents the following “retrospective” of this week’s festivities as a heartfelt compendium of her stellar artistry.   –Robert-Allan Arno

Mar Six 8“Love’s Lines, Angles & Rhymes”: We start with Marilyn’s personal favorite…from the album of the same title, “Love’s Lines, Angles and Rhymes.” Composer Dorothea Joyce says, “Marilyn was the perfect artist for this tune, her interpretive abilities as well as impeccable vocal chops, took my song to a new level…she is truly in a class by herself.” Listen here: https://youtu.be/f8YHTxftS0w
Marilyn in the Woods Two“Never My Love” is not only a priceless fan favorite but a “McCoo interpretation” that evokes this striking sentiment from Richard Addrisi of composers, the Addrisi Brothers: “If I could capture any voice in a bottle, it would surely be Marilyn’s…it’s pure love.” Listen to the classic version from LIVE here: https://youtu.be/RgAP_FvQrD0 And the re-visited version from the MANY FACES project here: https://youtu.be/hP5RLu1fjFo
Mar Six 5“Open Your Window”: Our “countdown” to Marilyn’s birthday continues with an album “mood-setter” that happens to be one of Grammy-winning producer Bones Howe’s personal faves. Mr. Bones shares, “When I heard Harry Nilsson’s ‘Open Your Window’ I had a hunch it would be perfect for Marilyn…and I was right. Marilyn has that quality…it’s very feminine, and it’s all her own. I think she (and Billy, too) should be singing forever…even with just a piano! The fans will never cease to listen…and neither will I.” Let’s take a deep sigh, with “Open Your Window;” listen here: https://youtu.be/T_fqDjs24VA

“If I Could Reach You”: We savor another “McCoo classic” as its composer, Randy McNeil weighs in with this compelling quote: “Marilyn made me feel like the most blessed songwriter on earth when she delivered her unmatchable vocal performance of ‘If I Could Reach You.’ With a voice so warm and mellow it could melt our hearts, yet possessing an electrifying energy that could give us chills and shake the rafters, God’s gift to her has been her gift to us. And the words and music of ‘If I Could Reach You’ were in need of Marilyn’s gift.” Listen here: https://youtu.be/QFTZrB-7d3I

Mar Six 2
“One Less Bell to Answer”: “It’s really a jazz ballad,” says producer Bones Howe. Marilyn herself calls it a “torch song.” And it’s been “informally” voted as the fans’ favorite all-time Pop-Soul super-hit by The Original 5th Dimension. “One Less Bell to Answer” is the jewel in the crown of Marilyn McCoo’s vocal solo gems. With words & music by Bacharach/David, from the seminal PORTRAIT album, even 8-time Tony Award winner, Audra McDonald hummed a few bars of it during a recent TV interview and sited Marilyn’s “beautiful voice” as an early influence. Need we say more…listening to the indelible recording is always a “new experience”…hear it here: https://youtu.be/lBrbu7PvMU0


“Wedding Bell Blues”: “It’s a Laura Nyro tune I always loved…and saved! When I found out Marilyn and Billy were dating, I knew it was the right time for Marilyn to record the lead…we surprised Billy and the group with it when they added their back-ups.” That’s producer Bones Howe talking about the Number 1 classic hit for The Original 5th Dimension, “Wedding Bell Blues.” Fun fact: It’s one of the top jukebox tunes of all time! Laura herself commented, “I LOVE what The 5th Dimension brought to my songs. They were like delicious ice cream sodas on a hot summer’s day!” Listen to Marilyn’s “scrumptious” vocal solo on “Wedding Bell Blues” here: https://youtu.be/7q21Bky7r2A


A MAR REACH LANGDONBonus “McCoo tunes”…

The delightful “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All” mixes melancholy with a 50’s back-beat and orchestra bells! Listen to Marilyn’s addictive, lilting lament here: https://youtu.be/3OY77yy7V00

The original version of “Saving All My Love for You” from the “Marilyn & Billy” album was envisioned in the genres of “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Did you know it was a hit in the Philippines? Enjoy Marilyn’s sincere, bluesy interpretation here: https://youtu.be/EJtgtaRZm5M

Twitter Banner MarBill

Visit Marilyn & Billy, touring to the best reviews of their careers (like their recent sold-out Labor Day weekend at Hollywood’s Catalina Jazz Club*), at www.mccoodavis.com, follow them on Twitter @mccoodavis, and “like” Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (Official) on Facebook!

*Enjoy exclusive photos of the “Catalina experience” in this collage, courtesy of Deniserose Torres

Special thanks to Steve Rosenblum, Blake Van Leer, and all the songwriters, singers and other luminaries who contributed their unique quotes for this edition!

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., copyright 2008-18, Intellectual Property, All Rights Reserved)


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