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A Stellar Marilyn & Billy Honor Dionne Warwick at Heartwarming Event

A Forever 5th Dimension Exclusive Review by Robert-Allan Arno

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Marilyn & Billy (also on the big screen) are joined by Darlene Love and Russell Thompkins, Jr. & the new Stylistics, giving a “Then Came You” musical homage to Dionne Warwick

The City of Brotherly Love became even more enchanting than its usual likeable self as the prestigious Marion Anderson Award–reflecting the historically celebrated essence of the trailblazing African American contralto–was given to Dionne Warwick at the spectacular Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia on Tuesday, November 14. And there to honor the Songstress of Smooth were recording impresario Clive Davis, local radio legend Jerry Blavat as MC, the powerful Darlene Love, the sentimentally soulful Russell Thompkins Jr. & the new Stylistics, and our very own Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.

KC 6Introduced by Blavat with a cute, “Do you remember that beautiful girl from The 5th Dimension and her handsome boyfriend,” it wasn’t too far of a stretch as the eternally youthful Marilyn & Billy–now married 48 years–entered the cavernous hall with a rousing “Up-Up and Away.” Followed by “You Don’t Have to Be a Star,” and an ovation-inducing “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” the duo made timeless tunes seem all the more age-proof with their pristine notes and energetic verve.  Indeed, McCoo delivered rich tones and scaled her trademark highs while Davis was at his “crystalline crisp” R&B best, not to mention presenting it all with welcomed agile “MarBill” dance moves n’ grooves.

KC 9A sleekly gowned Marilyn emoted, “We find Dionne Warwick to be one of our greatest contemporaries,” while the debonair Billy added, “If we’re appearing in the same town, we never miss a chance to see her.” Marilyn then shared with a confidential air, “When The 5th Dimension was planning its second TV special, we asked Dionne to be our guest, and we couldn’t believe she accepted! The songs that Florence (LaRue) and I performed with Dionne…I can’t tell you how much we learned from her.” Dionne nowIn response, Miss Warwick was beaming from her royal box seat. “Dionne, this one’s just for you,” Billy introduced as the strains of “I Know I’ll Never Love this Way Again” began. Turning Lady W’s hit into a classic “MarBill” duet for the occasion was a stroke of genius, with kudos going to Music Director, Darrell AlstonKC 10

At the backstage hospitality suite, Marilyn mentioned to me about their final song choice, “We wanted to do something special for this event.” I noted, “This could have been on THE MANY FACES OF LOVE project.” Marilyn and Billy responded simultaneously, “We thought of that and may just continue including it in our current shows!” It was much fun to visit with the ingratiating twosome trading all sorts of endearing stories…also joining were eternal fans Susie Paige, Cynthia Malachi White, plus (pictured) Philly musician Samadhi X Koamane and his brother Nemon who presented Marilyn with a one-of-a-kind piece from his jewelry line of “wearable art.” Before our final hugs, Marilyn and Billy mentioned, “Please tell everyone we look forward to seeing them next on the Colors of Christmas tour!”

Backstage Visit, l to r: Koamane, Billy, Robert, Marilyn and Nemon

colorsFor more information about the Colors of Christmas tour, Dec. 3-17:  https://www.thecolorsofchristmas.com/

Enjoy Marilyn & Florence with Dionne in “She’s A Lady”:  https://youtu.be/gcvM7RGJWKs

Marilyn & Florence trade hits with Dionne–“Up-Up and Away,” “Save the Country,” “Sweet Blindness,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,”– watch here:  https://youtu.be/D7RK_15gecM

“Like” Marilyn & Billy’s Official FB page, follow them on Twitter @mccoodavis or visit them at:  http://www.mccoodavis,com

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Friends & Colleagues–multi-Grammy legends Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. with their Social Media representative & biographer of The Original 5th Dimension, Robert-Allan Arno

Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., copyright ’08-2017, intellectual property, all rights reserved.

 

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Forever 5th Fall & Holiday Season Outlook

 

Marilyn & Billy…in the Colors of Christmas tour,  coming this Dec…

Florence & The 5th Dimension…in A Christmas Extravaganza at the Andy Williams Theatre, Branson, now thru Nov 18…

Lamonte…new music!

florpatchrist

Looking like Christmas angels, lovely Florence LaRue & Patrice Morris pose post-Christmas show in Branson–The 5th Dimension will be at the Andy Williams Theatre til Nov 18

Our stars have an exciting array of appearances this fall and holiday season!

See our updated feature, with all the details, right here at this link:

https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/up-up-and-away-its-a-new-season/

 

“Marilyn & Billy’s Living Room”

LIVING ROOM BIRTHDAY TWO

Curated by Robert-Allan Arno

September 30, 2017–I’m so proud to present a very special edition of FOREVER 5th DIMENSION. Not only is it the birthday of our revered and stellar songbird, Ms. Marilyn McCoo, but today, Marilyn and her legendary hubby of 48 years, our Gentleman of Soul, Mr. Billy Davis, Jr. graciously welcome you into their “living room!”  Over the past 9 years, each time our globally-acclaimed FOREVER 5th DIMENSION blog has had the pleasure of interviewing the 7-time Grammy award-winning “First Couple of Pop & Soul,” hands-down your consistent feedback has been: “It’s like I’m in their living room, being part of the conversation with Marilyn and Billy!” Indeed, in my warm chats with the endearing duo, we’ve laughed and cried, talked the music of a lifetime including ‘going deep’ with rarities, we’ve even done mini-Master Classes in singing interpretation! And we’ve never excluded keeping it faith-based while weaving in all the burning questions fans have wanted to hear! Now it’s your chance to ask those questions directly to “MarBill,” here within based on our polling you, the special fans over the past month.
RARE palm beachSo put on some hazelnut-flavored coffee, put up a pot of spicy herbal tea, grab some delectable cookies, too…and let’s get cozy with our very gracious, favorite couple, who’ll make YOU “a star in their show”…
Iconic Recordings, Hits to Fan Favorites…
Douglas C. Charles poses, “One of the things I really loved about The Original 5th Dimension was their unique harmonies. There are parts in songs that to this day give me chills like the ‘let the airwaves flow” extended segment in ‘Moonlight Mile’ (from EARTHBOUND). What I’m wondering is if there were special times for you guys, where you heard this beautiful 5th sound in-studio and really “knew” that it was special…perhaps gave you chills, too.”
MARILYN:  Yes, I heard those special harmonies and knew they were great.  I loved singing them in rehearsal, especially “Moonlight Mile,” and knew the result would be incredible.  Jimmy always came up with sounds I felt defined The 5th Dimension.  Other moments like that:  a) the prologue and epilogue of EARTHBOUND; b) “Orange Air;”  c) “Sky & Sea;”  d) “Dimension 5ive;”  e) “Black Patch;”  f)  “One Less Bell to Answer”–the background vocals.
BILLY:   I’ve always enjoyed Jimmy’s arrangements of his songs.  I didn’t think he could top the MAGIC GARDEN album until EARTHBOUND!  Because of circumstances we were dealing with which ultimately led to me and Marilyn leaving The 5th Dimension, I wasn’t able to really hear the magic of the group’s sounds and Jimmy’s brilliant arrangements.  In fact, we didn’t seriously listen to the project until years later, when our personal feelings and emotions had long since faded.EARTHBOUND ALBUM
Doug continues, “For Marilyn: I have always thought that ‘When Did I Lose Your Love’ (also from EARTHBOUND) was one of your most heart-touching performances. There is also that amazing acoustic guitar (by Larry Coryell) blending throughout. Could you share any thoughts on the process of that song?”
MARILYN:  When I recorded that song, my goal was to make it like a reflective moment, perhaps looking out of the window on a rainy day wondering how things fell apart.  Larry Coryell’s beautiful guitar really enhanced the emotion.
Our friend Andy Gard inquires, “Since the release of the Real Gone Music singles collection by The 5th Dimension last year, I’ve been thinking about ‘Diggin’ for a Livin,’ (the rare flip-side to ‘Flashback’). My question for Billy is do any other members of the group sing on that, or is it purely your solo? I certainly don’t hear the ladies or Ron, but there’s a section where there’s a harmony vocal and I’m wondering if that’s your voice doubled or possibly LaMonte’s?”
BILLY:  Andy, that’s me singing harmony with myself, and it’s one of very few of the group’s recordings that contained no background vocals.BILLY BILLY

Wilse Chappel expresses,  “First, I’d like to mention I love the work you two are doing with your ‘Soldiers for the Second Coming’ ministry. Marilyn and Billy, can you think back on the times you recorded the vocals for ‘One Less Bell To Answer’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Star.’ Could you share what those moments were like in the studio? Those are two of my favorites from the earlier days.”

MARILYN:  “Star” was a fun song to sing.  The lyrics were catchy, and Don Davis had produced a really hip, danceable track.  He always believed it would be a hit.  “One Less Bell” was the quintessential torch song by Bacharach and David, a dream for someone like me who loves torch songs.  I never thought it would a single or a hit.mar-six-8
BILLY:  I had really wanted the group to have a danceable hit record.  The closest thing to it was “Stoned Soul Picnic.”  With “Star,” me and Marilyn were recording a song that just might be that hit!
Jim Handakas asks Billy, “Did you try to get ‘The Worst That Could Happen’ released as a single? I preferred your solo over the version that ultimately was a hit (by The Brooklyn Bridge).”
BILLY:  We didn’t have any say-so about the singles chosen at that time.  The powers that be at Liberty/Soul City Records said they didn’t want a single released that focused on a soloist; they wanted the group sound which was selling at that time.
Renee Armstead has a more general question about your recordings.  She asks, “What are some of your favorites with The 5th Dimension, and then as a duet.”

BOTH:  In addition to the obvious “Up-Up and Away,” “Aquarius/Sunshine,” and “One Less Bell,” here are some of our additional favorites:  Group:  1) “Requiem: 820 Latham;” 2) “Sky & Sea;” 3) “Leave A Little Room;” 4) “Black Patch;” 5) “Stoned Soul Picnic;” 6) “Dimension 5ive;” 7) “Love’s, Lines, Angles & Rhymes;”  8) “Moonlight Mile.”  Duets:  1) “Star;” 2) “Easy Way Out;” 3) “My Love For You Will Always Be the Same;” 4) “My Reason To Be is You;” 5) “The Two Of Us.”

Deniserose Torres shares, “I have found that over the years, I hear many of your songs differently than when first encountered–whether it’s the vocal/musical arrangements or in the meaning of the words. Are there any songs you sing that have changed in feeling or meaning for you?”
BOTH:  Some of our songs that we listen to today, we hear with different ears:  1) “The Declaration” Medley (featuring “A Change Is Gonna Come” and “People Gotta Be Free”) has changed as the country has changed, giving us a more updated reference, we’re sorry to say;  2) “Those Were the Days”—as we have advanced in years, some of those lyrics are harder to hear or sing now without getting a lump in our throats;  3) “Ashes to Ashes”—Lambert & Potter’s lyrics had a greater depth than what we connected to in our earlier years.
About Laura…

Both Ed Clay Grant and Gregory Hall ask, “What was your relationship like with Laura Nyro?”  Gregory inquires, “Did you ever meet her?” Ed explains, “She was a favorite lost too soon. It seems utterly amazing that The 5th Dimension had hits with five of her songs — that must be a record! ” (Editor’s Note:  “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Sweet Blindness,” “Blown’ Away,” “Save the Country.”)


BILLY:  We “formally” met Laura when we were working on her songs, but our paths crossed earlier when the group was working in San Francisco, one of our first major gigs.  She was staying in an apartment hotel in a room below LaMonte, Ron & me.  She was out on her balcony one day singing with her background singers.  She and I said “hello” and chit-chatted for a few minutes, having no idea of our future that lay ahead or that her music and our group sound would work so well together.
Dimension 5ive: This n’ That!
Here’s a fun one from Jungle Room on Twitter:  “Did you ever meet Elvis?”

BOTH:  We met Elvis in Lake Tahoe at the Sahara Tahoe.  We were closing that night and he was opening the next night.  They had a tunnel we’d use going back and forth to the backstage.  He had just finished rehearsing; we were going backstage to get ready for our show.  He was very nice and said he was coming to the show.  We were thrilled!!  The backstage manager informed us when he arrived at the show.  Elvis’ rep asked what was our second to the last song in the show so they could slip out right afterward.  They also asked us to please not introduce him.  We said, “Don’t worry. We don’t want to cause a riot and ruin the rest of our show!”

Our friend  Loretta Sorensen has a couple of thoughtful inquires of each of you: “If you were not in the entertainment business, what other career would you see yourself in?  She continues with: “What was your favorite song growing up?”
BILLY:  Although I loved baseball and think I could’ve played professionally, all I ever really wanted to do was sing.  One of my favorite songs growing up was “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole.
MARILYN:  I might have gone into law.  I had taken a business law class in college and really enjoyed it.  But music was always my first desire.  One of my favorite songs growing up was, of course, a torch song, “The Man That Got Away.”
Marilyn and Billy, here’s a pair of questions from loyal fans who happen to be a husband and wife too, Mariette and Alain Baptiste.  I particularly love the “yin and yang” of their inquiry: “My wife Mariette wonders if Miss McCoo uses one specific designer as (she says:) ‘Marilyn always looks so elegant and fresh.’ My question is for Mr. Davis: I can bet you were a great singer even as a child, like Marilyn, but when did the lyrics become so important to you? My guess is during the MAGIC GARDEN sessions! We think both Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. put huge meaning behind their renderings!”
BILLY:  When I began listening to music, I always realized there was a story being told with the melody.  I understood that I needed to interpret that story for the listeners so they could feel it like I felt it.

MARILYN:  I know lines that work for my body (and those that don’t!).  I pick my clothes with that in mind.  I don’t always buy the same designer since their tastes change and don’t always work for me.  But for my performance clothes, I like Linda Stokes.  She understands a woman’s body, she makes her clothes fit for me in the most flattering way, and she’ll change a look if needed.

Robert:  Many of the radio jingles and TV commercials The Original 5th Dimension participated in, “back in the day” (e.g. Chevrolet, Coca Cola) are as well-remembered as your hit tunes. Then there’s the adorable ’70’s classic with The 5th dancing on the Jello box singing: “…It never gets too heavy, It’s gossamer, it never holds you down.”JELLO  In this regard, Duane Edwards submitted a reflection: “Does a second commercial for Jello exist? I either dreamed it or saw it once on afternoon TV during the soaps. It went something like this: hands are seen carrying a tray with bowls of Jello into a recording studio to a receptive group. The members of The 5th Dimension are then seen enjoying the treat while listening to their Jello jingle!”

BOTH:  We don’t remember a second version of the Jello commercial. Too bad Ronald’s (Townson) no longer with us; he was the unofficial group historian.
John Holt has a question about artwork on one of Johnny River’s record covers:  “Is it The 5th Dimension in a hot air balloon on one of Johnny’s albums?
BOTH:  Johnny Rivers certainly had access to the hot air balloon artwork of the UP-UP AND AWAY album cover since he owned the Soul City label.  But we don’t remember one of our photos being used on an album of his.
Master Class a la MarBill

Dave Maze expresses, “I saw you in Atlantic City last summer and spoke to your Music Director, Darrell Alston who told me you still sing everything in the original keys. What do you do to keep so youthful overall, and your voices so strong in order to be able to do that? Then when I had the pleasure of meeting you both, Billy said upon learning I was a singer, ‘Never stop singing!’ What other vocal tricks do you guys have up your sleeve?”

BOTH:  We have to keep vocalizing, doing exercises we learned from vocal teachers that really work for our voices, and keep challenging ourselves.  We also try to eat healthy and maintain some form of exercise.

And here’s an artistic “love letter” to Marilyn, so appropriate as “Living Room” debuts on her birthday. Jim Handakas is back to share, “Your voice has always spoken directly to my soul. The phrasing, the pitch, how the richness of your belt voice effortlessly floats up to your pristine soprano…all of it comes together in your remarkable performances. I have been in the audience to hear you sing your signature hits many times and you always deliver. How much has training figured into your longevity? Your range is still amazing!”

MARILYN:  First, thank you for that lovely description of how you feel my voice operates!  I have my father to thank for making sure I studied voice with a wonderful teacher while in college.  He used to say, “I don’t want your voice to cloud up from over-use like singers who never studied.”  I also learned invaluable technique from Seth Riggs, a renowned teacher who worked with Michael Jackson, Billy and a number of other well-known singers.
Deniserose adds, “Do you have any pre-concert rituals and/or vocal warm- ups?
BILLY:  I have an allergy to wheat and sugar, so a week before we work, I eliminate them totally from my diet (and then I pig-out afterward!)  Also, both of us intensify our vocal exercises at least two weeks before we sing.  One more thing: we chew sugar-free gum for an hour before the show to lubricate our vocal cords.
McCoo & Davis, Coming to a Town Near You!
Marilyn and Billy, two special fans are quite fervent in their hopes to have you appear in their areas. Robyn Pippins wonders, often “will you be performing in Atlanta anytime soon?” And  Hiromi Hirahata asks, “Do you have a plan to come to Japan in the near future? 47 years passed since The 5th Dimension came to Japan for the very first time. We Japanese fans eagerly hope you will come again and sing for us!”  

Robert:  And may I add to this, because you have fans from Chicago, Boston, New York City and many more places, clamoring for your return engagements. Does management take note of this, and does it help for fans to suggest to you a specific venue or to even request “McCoo and Davis,” specifically at their home town venues?
BOTH:   Robyn, thanks for your enthusiasm for us to return to Atlanta.  We love Atlanta and want to play there again.  We just need the offer to return.
BOTH:   Hiromi, we are very frustrated that we haven’t been back to Japan.  Our experience at Expo ’70 is one we treasure, and winning the Tokyo Music Festival has been a highlight of our careers.

BOTH:   We believe, and have seen evidence, that if enough people express to the right venues an interest in seeing an artist perform in their area, it can encourage the buyers to investigate the possibilities.  So, that being said, we love Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland, San Diego, Pittsburgh (and many more; the list gets long!).

Speaking of touring, Luann Scribani wonders,  “Over the years, what was your favorite venue to perform in? Is there a particular concert that stands out in your minds?”
MARILYN:  Favorite concert: at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, The Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe opened for The 5th Dimension.  This was a special program where we were able to present to our fans an exciting evening of music and dance  They loved it and the concert was very favorably reviewed in the Los Angeles Times.  (Billy & I got married a week after we closed.)  My favorite place: the Blossom Music Festival in Cleveland; they were always awesome audiences.Appreciation 43
BILLY:   My favorite venue is The Cerritos Performing Arts Center in California because the sound is always incredible.  My most memorable concert was in Saratoga, NY.  The house was filled to capacity, and the audience was waiting for us to come out into the house at the end of “Aquarius” to bring one person each on stage.   We got back on stage and it looked like the entire audience was trying to join us.  They swarmed the stage and the group left…with me still out there singing!  Marilyn came back and got me, grabbed my arm and I left my mic on the floor.  A scary experience!
“Solid Gold” Memories
solid gold
Kon Koroneos says all the way from Melbourne, Australia, “Marilyn, I loved your hair and I loved your style! To Billy, from one bloke to another, you are all style!  To Marilyn, on ‘Sold Gold,’ which of the duets you performed (for example, with Ronnie Milsap, Gordon Lightfoot, etc.) was your favorite? My fav ‘Solid Gold’ duet of yours (with someone other than Billy whose voice I love) is with Paul Williams!”
MARILYN:   I’d never thought about which of the duets I sang was my favorite.  So I had to go to YouTube to jar my memory (Thank God for YouTube!).  There were three that stood out for me:  Cliff Richard and me singing “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” the performance with B.J. Thomas singing his hits medley, and the duet with Carl Wilson singing “God Only Knows.”
Jeff Lahr echoes the thought,”Marilyn, you sang with many wonderful performers on ‘Solid Gold’ over the years. Who were some of your favorites?”

MARILYN:  I’d forgotten how many songs I sang with Cliff Richard; he was always a pleasure to work with (so musical; Billy and I enjoyed the tour we did with him in England a few years ago.)  Singing with the Commodores was so much fun (and a reach for me!).  Paul Williams, in addition to being an incredible songwriter, was also a riot to work with. He toured with The 5th Dimension, so we got to know him well, and he and Billy really hit it off!  Donna Summer and I sang a Christmas duet together. Her voice was so powerful that when she came to my dressing room to rehearse, she almost blew me out of the room!  (And I thought Billy had a powerful voice!)

Brad Katzman shares, “I have followed you two over the years…love your music and wonderful marriage (and reading your autobiography made me feel connected to your lives). Would you consider doing a ‘Solid Gold’ type revival or similar show.
MARILYN:  I’ve learned to always keep my mind open to new ideas.  Who knows?
Scott Lakefield commented on Twitter: “Loved when you hosted ‘Solid Gold,’ Marilyn. Do you think it’ll ever be made available on DVD?
MARILYN:   Sorry, Scott, I don’t have an answer on that one.
Marc Stoc asks, “Hi Marilyn, what are your thoughts on your SOLID GOLD album? Do you wish you had released more solo projects?”
MARILYN:  It was a concept project meant to capitalize on the TV exposure.  I’m sorry it didn’t do better but we all have those experiences in our lives.  One of my favorite songs on that album was “Every Breath You Take.”  I was very pleased with my contemporary Christian CD that was nominated for a Grammy, THE ME NOBODY KNOWS.   I enjoy looking for new project ideas for Billy and me to do together.
Future Recordings, Mar-Bill style!

Robert:  Which leads to Robyn‘s inquiry about you two hopefully “blessing us with potential new recordings.” Marilyn and Billy, we have a number of questions in this regard.

Jungle Room also asks, “Would Billy consider doing a follow-up to his Gospel CD?”  Faithful fan Susan Aglio enthuses, “Marilyn’s Christmas CD is an all-time favorite. I’m hoping Marilyn and Billy might record a new Christmas project!”

BILLY:  Yes, I have thought about doing another Gospel project.
MARILYN:   Billy and I have talked about the possibility of a Christmas project together.  We would enjoy that.
Andy returns with: “With your 50th wedding anniversary on the horizon, have you given any thought to going back into the studio and recording a follow-up to ‘The Many Faces of Love?’ Since your voices are still in such excellent shape, I know we’d all love to hear fresh material from you!”MANY FACES
BOTH:  We haven’t really considered doing a 50th Anniversary project at this point, but we still have a couple of years…
Brian Medoro offers this recording “twist”: “I’ve noticed some artists, in lieu of recording full albums, are releasing songs one-at-a-time. It takes the pressure off especially if the artist is on a tour…and of course, there’s nothing better than seeing you live! Would that concept be something you would consider for yourselves?”

BOTH:   Brian, thanks for the suggestion; today’s market is very different from our original record-making time.  It’s worth considering…
Good for the Soul…marbill CHRISTMAS CONCERTS
Robert:  Marilyn and Billy, some faith-based questions are so lovely as we now light candles in our “Living Room” environment for fellowship…
Nita Durham:  “Do you think being Christians enhanced your spirit to perform ALL kinds of music to the world in order to spread the Gospel? God Bless you and keep on singing!”
BOTH:  We think it’s our duty to spread the good news of God’s love wherever we go.  Sometimes it’s reflected in the songs we sing; sometimes His light is seen through our relationship.  Many people have commented on how moved they are by how we carry ourselves, on stage and off.
And our friend, Pastor Martha Vink poses this touching “twofer”: “Your faith is an integral part of your lives. What do you do to ‘nurture and grow’ your spirituality, especially with such a busy schedule?” She goes on, “What is one of the qualities you love most in one another?”
BOTH:  We start our day with prayer and devotions together, thanking God for each day and counting our blessings, which are many.
MARILYN:  Billy is very kind to everyone and has a very giving spirit.

BILLY:  Marilyn is honest and generous, and very firm in her beliefs.

What a perfect visit, thanks to special fans, and of course “our MarBill”…

Robert: Marilyn and Billy, we can’t thank you enough for welcoming us into your “Living Room” and personally, for having FOREVER 5th DIMENSION host the event. And how timely that we get to unveil it so festively on Marilyn’s birthday which is always a precious date of celebration for your many, many worldwide fans! You still have so many artistic journeys in store for us, and you make it all seem so effortless, we never wish to take your spirit of excellence for granted.  I know in particular, your participation in the Colors of Christmas Tour ’17 and then in the new year, on The Soul Train Cruise will delight many.WESTBURY Davis, Arno, McCooMARILYN & BILLY:  Robert, thank you for coming up with this incredible “Living Room” concept…it’s ingenious! And how beautiful that so many have been wondering about so many things regarding our careers! There were very interesting questions, some we’ve never been asked before, and others that allowed us to take some fun trips down memory lane and share with our “Living Room” friends.


For information about the Colors of Christmas Tour:   https://www.thecolorsofchristmas.com/

PIONEER COLLAGE TWO
Here are 10 specially selected songs, performances, & commercial links:

Moonlight Mile:  https://youtu.be/SET2ebDJmEc

When Did I Lose Your Love:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpNO0uq8xyg

Black Patch:  https://youtu.be/DvBMU3P4ISY

Dimension 5ive:  https://youtu.be/nxNYjtXxwVM

The Worst that Could Happen (live):  https://youtu.be/unsy1CxtWFQ

My Love For You Will Always Be the Same: https://youtu.be/_LFav-4Td6A

The Two of Us (live):  https://youtu.be/B-8KjPv8-5s

JELLO commercial:   https://youtu.be/pS7Z4ygOLbs

Marilyn sings with BJ Thomas:  https://youtu.be/_Z5PTs6e-sY

Marilyn sings with Paul Williams:  https://youtu.be/iwBWsS874_4

    Marilyn+McCoo+Billy+Davis+Jr+Wildlife+WayStation+SIoD42FOyjOxFollow Marilyn & Billy at their Official Facebook page, on Twitter @McCooDavis or visit their website at www.mccoodavis.com

Special thanks to Steve Rosenblum, Sterling Winters
Photo Credits: The Arno 5th Dimension McCoo/Davis Legacy Collection, LaMonte McLemore, Captain Bob, Music in the Mountains, Deniserose Torres, Martha Vink

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, “Marilyn & Billy’s Living Room,” copyright 2008-2017, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd.,
intellectual property, all rights reserved)

An Exciting Fall & Holiday Season!

new marbill don' likeWelcome to the Fall & Holiday season, FOREVER 5TH-style! What an exciting time for our favorite stars! We unveiled our “Marilyn & Billy’s Living Room” feature– your questions answered by our dynamic duo, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., right here at the blog on Marilyn’s birthday, Sept. 30 to a record number of visitors!

On Saturday Nov 11, music legends McCoo & Davis, Jr. will be hosting the AMG (*Artist Music Guild) Heritage Awards ’17 in salute of the arts, with other legacy artists like The Coasters, Lloyd Price, Terri Gibbs, more! By the way, the show will be televised! DionneThen Marilyn & Billy honor Miss Dionne Warwick as she receives the prestigious Marian Anderson Award at the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia on Tues. Nov 14, 8pm!  Limited Seats!–for tickets, go here:  http://www.box-officetickets.com/Events/Adult-Contemporary-Tickets/2017-Marian-Anderson-Awards/2430680

colorsAnd don’t forget, “MarBill” star in the Colors of Christmas Tour, coming to a town near you Dec 3-17th! For locations, go here:  https://www.thecolorsofchristmas.com/

CHRIST ANDY

Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension (Patrice, Willie, Leonard & Floyd) embark on a special residency: “Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza Starring The 5th Dimension” at The Andy Williams Performing Arts Center/Moon River Theatre in Branson from Nov 1 thru Nov 18. Jimmy Osmond hosts the festivities.

Jimmy Osmond

Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension with Jimmy Osmond

For “Christmas Extravaganza” tickets & details, go here:  http://www.andywilliamspac.com/christmas-extravaganza-starring-5th-dimension.html

DREAM AWARDS

And founder of The 5th Dimension, the ever dapper LaMonte McLemore, accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Dream Awards in Las Vegas on Sun. Oct 22!

  lamonte mac final final finalEXCLUSIVE! Watch the official induction video, produced by The Soul of The Voice, Ltd. and announced by yours truly, Mac’s biographer, here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYbbYrKrH5E&t=6s

Mac is also promoting his new sweet-Soul dance tune, IF I COULD FALL IN LOVE!

Aren’t we lucky and blessed that our favorite “original” stars of The 5th Dimension are still as vibrant as ever! —Robert-Allan Arno

year-end-collage-16-revised

Visit Marilyn & Billy at their Facebook page–Official, on Twitter @mccoodavis or at http://www.mccoodavis.com

Enjoy Florence LaRue’s updated website at http://www.florencelarue.com

Check out LaMonte McLemore on Twitter @lamontemclemore, or on Facebook

Go to CD Baby right now, to hear a sample of & purchase for download LaMonte’s new sweet-Soul, harmonic dance tune, I WISH I COULD FALL IN LOVE at this link:

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/lamontemclemore2

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, The Soul of The Voice, Ltd; all rights reserved)

Happy Birthday, LaMonte McLemore–An Eternal Visionary Who Cares…

MAC BDAY FINAL COLLAGE 17

As posted on LaMonte’s Facebook Page:

Fans & friends, this is LaMonte McLemore’s biographer, Robert-Allan Arno, taking a special moment to “curate” as we say these days, Mac’s page. Today, Sept 17 is his birthday. I have had the pleasure of growing up with The Original 5th Dimension as my personal heroes on many levels, and LaMonte is someone I have gotten to know intensively this past decade as we’ve worked on his inspiring, now hit memoir, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension,” plus a wide array of social media endeavors and media appearances. The spirit of excellence “The 5th” always stood for was manifested by its founder, LaMonte. His keen “visionary eye” has so much to do with seeing the best in people, and not taking “no” until they see it for themselves and then realize their true potential. For all my accomplishments as an actor/announcer and teacher, it was Mac who stepped forward to edify my gifts in new ways. I’m sure, you too have a similar story. Right?

Whether you’ve sung on “parallel stages” to LaMonte’s harmonies, played baseball with him, been beautifully photographed by him, befriended by and inevitably made to laugh by him, whether you’re an eternal fan of “Champagne Soul”…his elemental kindness has changed lives.  It’s what his cherished Grandma Gertrude always taught him as a young boy, and it’s his lifetime motto: “We’re only in this world to help one another.” Please join me on this thread, on this page, to salute an artist, a singer, songwriter, photographer, an ultimate humanitarian on the occasion of his birthday. With Love, my big brother, and wishes for God’s continued abundant blessings, I say “Happy Birthday, LaMonte!”  –“Rev. Arno”

I WISH I COULD FALL IN LOVEFans & friends, go to CD Baby right now, to hear a sample of & purchase for download LaMonte’s new sweet-Soul, harmonic dance tune, I WISH I COULD FALL IN LOVE at this link:

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/lamontemclemore2

book coverMac’s hit memoir, now in its 2nd Edition, recommended by Johnny Mathis and Nancy Sinatra!  FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5TH DIMENSION, available at Amazon:

  https://www.amazon.com/Hobo-Flats-5th-Dimension-Photography/dp/0692307362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505846340&sr=8-1&keywords=hobo+flats+5th+dimension+mclemore

Introducing “Marilyn & Billy’s Living Room”: Your Questions Requested!

LIVING LIVING LIVINGINTRODUCING “Marilyn & Billy’s Living Room“…and Special Fans, YOU’RE INVITED! Over the past 9 years, each time the globally-acclaimed FOREVER 5th DIMENSION blog has had the pleasure of interviewing the 7-time Grammy award-winning “First Couple of Pop & Soul,” hands-down your consistent feedback has been: “It’s like I’m in their living room, being part of the conversation with Marilyn and Billy!” The blog’s creator and trusted biographer of The Original 5th Dimension, Robert-Allan Arno observes, “In my warm chats with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve talked the music of a lifetime including ‘going deep’ with rarities, we’ve even done mini-Master Classes in singing interpretation! And we’ve never excluded keeping it faith-based while weaving in all the burning questions fans have wanted to hear!”

Now it’s your chance to ask those questions directly to “MarBill!” Submit them at the relevant thread on their Official Facebook page*— about the music, the historic recordings, memorable stage & media appearances, about marriage, faith…and even fashion!  But no more than TWO questions per fan, please (due to space limitations)! Our first edition will festively be unveiled at the FOREVER 5th DIMENSION blog (right here!) on Marilyn’s birthday, Sept. 30, 2017.  (Questions will be compiled and a curated selection will be submitted to Marilyn & Billy by Sept. 15…so they have time to answer!)  So Fans & Friends, please begin leaving your questions at the thread (on the Official Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Facebook page*)  and thank you for your cooperation and enthusiasm! –“Team MarBill”

 *Go to the Official Marilyn & Billy Facebook page at:
Black White Columbus Day

Summer Highlight: Florence LaRue joins Jimmy Webb!

Flor and JimmySummer ’17 Highlight! In late July, the vibrant Florence LaRue joined Jimmy Webb onstage at his acoustic concert, Levitt Pavilion Pasadena. The two celebrated the 50th anniversary of UP-UP AND AWAY, performing a delightfully rousing version of the multi-Grammy award winner penned by Webb, a signature hit for The 5th Dimension. Ms. LaRue also celebrates 5 decades with the quintet, today she leads the current 5th Dimension to sold-out shows, globally.  Special note: Two fan-favorite “Florence solos”: THIS IS YOUR LIFE and MAGIC IN MY LIFE from the “Portrait” and “Earthbound” albums, respectively were written (and the latter produced) by Webb.  –Robert-Allan Arno

RARE ALTERN 5th

Visit Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension for concert schedule & more at: http://florencelarure.com or  http://5thdimensionlive.com