Tag Archives: Billy Davis Jr.

A Heartfelt Tribute: Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Honored by Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters

A Forever 5th Dimension Exclusive by Robert-Allan Arno

On the dias for McCoo & Davis, a gathering of friends & colleagues L to r bttm:  Lou Gossett., Florence LaRue, Marilyn & Billy, Joan van Ark; l to r top: President of PPB Alan Perris, Kathy Ireland, Harry Elston, Pat Boone, Wink Martindale (Photo by Roxanne Schorbach)

May 19, 2017–The prestigious Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters celebrity luncheon honored Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. for their achievements in radio & TV broadcasting with a heartfelt and fun-loving Friday afternoon tribute.  As reported to Forever 5th Dimension from key attendees, the duo of the hour– 7-time Grammy-winning musical legends McCoo & Davis (“Up-Up and Away,” “You Don’t Have to be a Star (To be in My Show),” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “One Less Bell to Answer”), were simply bowled over by such an affectionate array of reflections from those luminaries who appeared on the dais.Pioneer Placard

Pac JoanActress Joan van Ark recited a compelling compendium of lyrics from various hit songs by The 5th Dimension while Florence LaRue delivered an emotional homage to her fellow Original 5th Dimension trailblazers and friends.

pac FlorenceThe graceful LaRue cited Billy’s voice as one which still brings a tear to her eye.  Actor Lou Gossett, Jr. and Harry Elston of The Friends of Distinction were downright hysterical (Harry’s nickname for Billy is “Wilbur”…with Billy trading quick quips with Mr. Elston!)


Harry Elston of The Friends of Distinction brought humor to the event.

pacific ireland done

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. are joined by Kathy Ireland

The lovely Kathy Ireland as well as the perennially wholesome Pat Boone and TV host Wink Martindale brought faith-based thoughts to the proceedings, acknowledging Marilyn & Billy’s own hallmark of goodness, integrity and commitment to charitable causes.


Saluting the first African American married couple to have their own network TV variety series, the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters put together a masterfully entertaining video montage of McCoo & Davis’s numerous artistic achievements.

Pac Gilmore

Marilyn & Billy receiving the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award from PPB President Alan Perris

Tony Orlando and LaMonte McLemore sent video and written testimonials to their lifelong friends and colleagues. Orlando (with Dawn counterparts) opened for The Original 5th Dimension, “back in the day” at Westbury Music Fair and credits that “gig” as getting his trio discovered for their iconic TV series. McLemore literally brought former beauty contest winner Marilyn and St. Louis buddy Billy together in LA, upon forming The 5th Dimension in ’65.  McCoo & Davis will celebrate 48 years of marriage this coming July.

Pacific Steve Retouch

Having good fun at the McCoo/Davis Tribute L to r bttm: Florence LaRue, Marilyn & Billy, Pat Boone, Wink Martindale; l to r top: President Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, Alan Perris, Harry Elston, Joan van Ark, Kathy Ireland

Visit Marilyn & Billy at their Official Facebook page,

on Twitter @mccoodavis

See their website for latest concert schedule; McCoo & Davis tour with their acclaimed Broadway-like autobiographical musical, “Up-Up & Away–a musical fable”:  www.mccoodavis.com

Special Thanks to Steve Rosenblum, Sterling/Winters,

and the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters (http://www.ppbwebsite.org)

From-the-dais photos courtesy of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters FB page

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., copyright 2008-17, Intellectual Property, All Rights Reserved)

Celebrating a Legacy

Honoring Black History Month ’17–

a Forever 5th Dimension Exclusive Report by Robert-Allan Arno

Museum Display—  Here’s a lively backstage photo of The Original 5th Dimension: Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., LaMonte McLemore, Florence LaRue & Ron “Sweets” Townson circa ’70.  It’s from photographer Arnie Lee‘s famed shoot of the quintet (onstage & off, at Eastern Michigan University) and we’re so proud to note that select pics from this session–including this one!–are currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.



Florence’s Milestone, A Gathering of Forever Friends—  Our delightful diva, Ms. Florence LaRue just toasted a milestone birthday. She shares with us:

“WOW!! I haven’t the words or the time to individually thank the many people all over the world who sent wonderful birthday wishes to me! I thank God for all of you taking the time to do so; and I thank Him for allowing me to live 75 healthy years!~~~Yes 75!! I understand that some had my years much younger, but I am grateful for the years of learning, experiencing and growing closer to God! My heart is so full~~~THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! I feel SO loved! 🙂 and I send love to you!”  –Florence

On Feb. 18, Florence had a sumptuous house party attended by friends, family, fans and musical colleagues, including Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. who sang, individually at the intimate gathering.  Also attending were current members of The 5th Dimension:  Patrice Morris, Leonard Tucker and Floyd Smith. Here’s a lovely photo commemorating the event.


Current & founding members of The 5th Dimension join Ms. LaRue at her birthday soiree.  L to R: Floyd Smith, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., Florence, Leonard Tucker & Patrice Morris

book cover

Memoir Available on Amazon*

LaMonte Celebrates–  And throughout this meaningful month, founder of The 5th Dimension, LaMonte McLemore is making select media appearances discussing the harmonious, unifying legacy of The 5th Dimension, his hit memoir “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension,” and featuring his exciting new song, a call for global peace: CEASE FIRE.


Available at CD Baby:


“Mac” has appeared with Jimmy Howes on WGHT, Freddie Bell and Chantel on “The People’s Station”–KMOJ, Teddy Bear on LOTL Radio and just taped a podcast for world-wide distribution with the engaging Chris Yandeck at “CY Interview”:

You can listen to LaMonte’s heartfelt, in-depth chat with Chris at this easy link:  http://www.cyinterview.com/2017/02/up-up-and-away-the-5th-dimension-founder-lamonte-mclemore-talks-his-life-and-his-book-from-hobo-flats-to-the-5th-dimension-a-life-fulfilled-in-baseball-photography-and-music/

Essential Links:

Visit LaMonte McLemore on: Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in

*Purchase Mac’s 5-star hit memoir, FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5TH DIMENSION at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Hobo-Flats-5th-Dimension-Photography/dp/0692307362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487528579&sr=8-1&keywords=hobo+flats+to+5th+dimension

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

Visit Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. for appearances & more at: Facebook Official  or  http://www.mccoodavis.com

Photo Credits: Arnie Lee, all rights reserved; the Thalians; Patrice Morris…

mac and mccoo

Bonus shot! Marilyn & Mac, circa ’70, by Arnie Lee


Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, copyright ’17, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., intellectual property, all rights reserved

Autograph Offer: The 5th Dimension–The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles 3CD Set

complete-singlesBreaking News:  The 5th Dimension–The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles 3CD Set!

In celebration of The 5th Dimension legacy’s 50 year anniversary, REAL GONE MUSIC proudly presents the most comprehensive 5th Dimension collection ever assembled!  And here’s a special autograph offer*…

autographsAll four living members (Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr.  and LaMonte McLemore) of The 5th Dimension have signed 28 copies of this set. REAL GONE MUSIC is going to take orders until 12:00 pm PST this Monday December 19, 2016 and then select the winners randomly. If you do not receive an autographed version you will get a $5 coupon good for your next order from Real Gone Music!



About “The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles”:

  • Back in 1966, Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., LaMonte McLemore, and Ron Townson Began Making Beautiful Music Together, and Pop-Soul Music Has Never Been the Same
  • The Complete Soul City/Bell Singles 1966-1975 Presents All the Singles the Group Recorded for the Soul City and Bell Labels, Plus Their First Single (as The Versatiles) for the Bronco Label and Their Lone Single Release for Arista
  • Three Compact Discs and 61 Tracks of Swinging, Soulful Harmonies, Brilliant Arrangements, Groundbreaking Production, and Some of the Best Songwriting to Come Out of the ‘60s and ‘70s
  • Includes 30 Pop and 15 R&B Hits, All in Their Hard-to-Find Mono Single Mixes Including Some Rare Non-LP Sides and Single Edits
  • Features Such Legendary Recordings as “Up—Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “One Less Bell to Answer,” “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All,” and “If I Could Reach You”
  • Features Production by the Great Bones Howe, Vocal Arrangements by Industry Legend Bob Alcivar, and Instrumental Accompaniment by the Famed Wrecking Crew
  • Includes the Songs (e.g. “Up—Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic”) That Brought the Songwriting Brilliance of Jimmy Webb and Laura Nyro to the Masses
  • Exquisitely Remastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios
  • Exclusive Liner Quotes from Florence LaRue, Billy Davis, Jr., Marilyn McCoo, LaMonte McLemore
  • Housed Inside a Beautiful 8-Panel Digipak Festooned with Rare Photos
  • The Summit of Sunshine Pop-Soul!

This Collection features these songs: 

Disc : 1
1. You’re Good Enough for Me
2. Bye Bye Baby
3. I’ll Be Lovin’ You Forever
4. Train Keep On Movin’
5. Go Where You Wanna Go
6. Too Poor to Die
7. Another Day, Another Heartache
8. Rosecrans Blvd.
9. Up Up & Away
10. Which Way to Nowhere
11. Paper Cup
12. Poor Side of Town
13. Carpet Man
14. The Magic Garden
15. Stoned Soul Picnic
16. The Sailboat Song
17. Sweet Blindness
18. Bobbie’s Blues (Who Do You Think Of?)
19. California Soul
20. It’ll Never Be the Same Again

Disc : 2
1. Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures)
2. Don’t Cha Hear Me Callin’ to Ya
3. Workin’ on a Groovy Thing
4. Broken Wing Bird
5. Wedding Bell Blues
6. Lovin’ Stew
7. Blowing Away
8. Skinny Man
9. The Declaration
10. A Change Is Gonna Come/People Gotta Be Free
11. The Girls’ Song
12. Puppet Man
13. A Love Like Ours
14. Save the Country
15. Dimension 5ive
16. On the Beach (In the Summertime)
17. This Is Your Life
18. One Less Bell to Answer
19. Feelin’ Alright?
20. Love’s Lines Angles & Rhymes
21. The Singer

Disc : 3
1. Light Sings
2. Viva Tirado
3. Never My Love
4. Together Let’s Find Love
5. I Just Wanna Be Your Friend
6. (Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All
7. The River Witch
8. If I Could Reach You

9. Tomorrow Belongs to the Children
10. Living Together Growing Together
11. What Do I Need to Be Me
12. Everything’s Been Changed
13. There Never Was a Day
14. Ashes to Ashes
15. Flashback
16. Diggin’ for a Livin’
17. Harlem
18. My Song
19. No Love in the Room
20. I Don’t Know How to Look for Love

Special thanks to Gordon Anderson, president of Real Gone. 

Please note:  FOREVER 5th DIMENSION will have an exclusive Q & A with Gordon, coming soon, this holiday season!

–Robert-Allan Arno

(Forever 5th Dimension, A production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., all rights reserved, copyright ’08-2016)

Celebrating Billy’s Birthday with a Rare One!

It’s The 5th Dimension as The Versatiles!

Dateline June 26–We’re honoring the birthday of Billy Davis, Jr. with a rare landmark recording, as featured in this YouTube for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION.  According to group founder LaMonte McLemore, “Everyone thinks we started in ’67 because of ‘Up-Up and Away,’ but I formed the group in late ’65.” LaMonte, Billy, along with Marilyn McCoo, Florence LaRue, and Ron Townson were known as The Versatiles then, before manager Marc Gordon convinced them to go find a hipper moniker. This tune, “You’re Good Enough for Me” was the A-side of The Versatile’s only single on Bronco Records (produced and co-written in ’65 by Gordon). And it’s notable that the quintet had initial interest in recording for Motown, for surely this production had that company’s flavor. McLemore adds, “It’s good we didn’t go with Motown and that Marc got us connected with Johnny Rivers’s Soul City Records and the music of Jimmy Webb…our eventual sound wound up un-matched!” True, yet this single side is quite unique, too, as it brings us the roots of The 5th Dimension and one of Mr. Billy Davis, Jr.’s earliest leads.


For his birthday, the fans at FOREVER 5th DIMENSION have been celebrating Billy’s many memorable solos with “The 5th”: The still-timely tour-de-force, “A Change is Gonna Come,” the sweet-Soul of “Summer’s Daughter” and “Misty Roses,” the inspirational “Leave A Little Room,” and the raucous romp of recovery in “Feelin’ Alright.” Along with the passion of “Requiem: 820 Latham,” “Let It Be Me,” and “The Worst that Could Happen,” Billy Davis Jr’s musical exploits bring out equally-impassioned sentiments from fans old and new. It’s no wonder luminaries like the aforementioned Webb, the late Maurice White and Gerald Levert of Earth, Wind & Fire and The O’Jay’s, respectively, and former band-mates McLemore and LaRue have labeled him one of our greatest Soul singers. Most certainly, his wife of soon-to-be 47 years, the ever-lovely Ms. McCoo warmly and pridefully concurs.


Gentleman of Soul

As The Original 5th Dimension’s biographer, I dub Billy Davis, Jr. our Gentleman of Soul. As we wish him a blessed birthday with this early gem, it’s remarkable that this may not have exactly foreshadowed the perfect jewels to come, but was a charming start, one The 5th eventually would have fun “spoofing” in concert and on TV (The Flip Wilson Show). Today, on the occasion of Mr. Davis’s birthday, we can look back on “You’re Good Enough for Me” with a smile, a finger-snap and a strut in our step. —Robert-Allan Arno

Special thanks to Paul Corley–this rare single is from his exclusive collection.

More thanks to the special fans, and to the stars: Billy, Marilyn, Florence and LaMonte. Also to Sterling Winters.

Photos: The Arno 5th Legacy Collection, DeniseRose Torres and Getty Images

LaMonte McLemore’s hit memoir, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension” is available at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692307362

Visit Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. at http://www.mccoodavis.com

Visit Florence LaRue and The 5th Dimension, today at: http://the5thdimensionlive.com/

Robert-Allan Arno is at: http://www.about.me/robertallanarno


Billy, Robert, Marilyn, June 2016

(FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, copyright 2016, The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., intellectual property, all rights reserved)

It’s July 5th Time!

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Longtime “5th Dimension fan,” Brian Medoro just quipped as we were wishing each other a good summer, “Well you know, we 5D folks always celebrate the 5th, not the 4th!” alluding to the famous “July 5th Album,” a melange of memorable tunes Marilyn McCoo cutely referred to as, “our not so greatest hits!”mar solo shot 

And thus at FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, our “summer of love ’15” begins, as LaMonte McLemore just referenced to cheers at his smash book-signing event at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar in NYC: “Above all, The 5th Dimension always stood for love!” I co-hosted the evening with “Mac,” and we had a blast with our on-stage chat, then taking questions from the charming audience of long-time fans and special friends.  Mac’s media tour had him literally talking to top morning show radio hosts all over the country, from Jimmy Howes in greater New Jersey, to Freddie Bell in the Twin Cities, to the “Mojo” in Philly, not to mention Teddy Smith in NYC as well as the iconic “Cousin Brucie” on Sirius…with more media and signing stops to come throughout ’15.  According to Mr. Mac, “People have asked me to write my memoir for years…and judging by our 5-star reviews, the timing is just perfect!”  As his “as told to author,” I concur!  master 11

And summer ’15 leads to an important fall milestone, October to be exact, as Florence Now RareFlorence LaRue celebrates her 50th year with The 5th Dimension, hard to believe of the age-proof glamour girl, but true!  And don’t forget to check out Florence and The 5th’s (Patrice, Willie, Leonard & Floyd) sizzling summertime Champagne Soul tour schedule at http://www.thefifthdimension.org  RARE ALTERN 5th

Oh, and guess what, in late July, our Blog will celebrate its 7th anniversary while “MarBill” aka McCoo & Davis celebrate their 46th year of marriage!  We’ll be doing something very special for the FOREVER 5th anniversary…some “lovin’ stew” is truly cookin’…stay tuned!

Happy Birthday Billy CollageBut for now, we leave you with our link to “What Comes From Our Hearts,” saluting Billy Davis Jr.’s birthday the other day, with some wonderfully creative input from you, the fans.  It’s also now featured on Marilyn & Billy’s official website:  http://www.mccoodavis.com.  You’ll see the compendium of “results” at:  https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/what-comes-from-our-hearts-celebrating-billys-birthday-this-thursday/

Sunshine, Picnics, Balloons and Blessings Always,
Robert-Allan Arno, Biographer–The Original 5th Dimension and LaMonte McLemore

book coverAnd remember, LaMonte’s hit memoir as told to Robert is available now on Amazon…”From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension“:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692307362

THE FIFTH DIMENSIONBonus!  Enjoy The Original 5th Dimension perform our National Anthem, yes, perfect for the day before “the 5th,” Independence Day, it’s a FOREVER 5th vid exclusive at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4rbYgUY44I

Bringing People Together

Nov. 8, 2014–As biographer of The original 5th Dimension and LaMonte McLemore, I was recently telling Billy Davis, Jr. that the phrase I like to use is “The 5th Dimension brought (and bring) people together in unity, through their essence of harmony.”  Billy smiled, thought quietly in his pastoral way, and responded with his inimitable energy, “You got it!”  It’s an exciting time as Marilyn (McCoo) & Billy soon embark on their select “Solid Gold Christmas” tour, Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension are already planning their Champagne Soul ’15 touring schedule, and LaMonte McLemore & I anticipate the release of his sizzling memoir, FROM HOBO FLATS to THE 5th DIMENSION, right at the launch of the new year–friends, you should see the cool cover…and ALL the rare photos…not to mention the 12 carefully themed and celeb & music-studded chapters!  As his as-told-to author, I can attest that “Mac” doesn’t quit until he makes you laugh…and think!

In the spirit of ‘bringing people together,” here’s a compendium of special items that have come into FOREVER 5th, let’s call it our November scrapbook,  that I’d like to share with you today.  Simply, ENJOY!  —Robert

SHARING 6You may recall the artist Kenneth Green‘s incredible painting of Marilyn & Billy for their 40th anniversary; today here’s a special rendering from Kenny’s sketch book of fave musical artists– it’s The original 5th Dimension in classic pose. Such wonderful work!

sharing 5It’s lovelies Marilyn & Florence, circa late ’60’s, sharing photos as we present this awesomely & adorably rare photo-find! (Courtesy of our friends at the Blog: PopBopRocktilUDrop)

SHARING 3Did you know, Marilyn & Billy recently visited the Center for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas?  Read more at:  http://lowellmilkencenter.org/newsroom/photo-gallery/marilyn-mccoo-billy-davis-jr-former-members-5th-dimension-visit-center/SHARING 1SHARING 2Number 1 in our hearts–last but certainly not least, from our friends at The Wrecking Crew, the marvelous, famed musicians who backed The 5th Dimension & so many others, in the studio: “On this date, November 8, 1969, ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ by The 5th Dimension hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became their second #1 hit in the US. The song was written by Laura Nyro, and the record produced by Bones Howe.” And here’s to our sweethearts, Marilyn & Billy, married 45 years!

>For Marilyn & Billy’s Christmas touring schedule:  http://www.mccoodavis.com or visit their Official page on Facebook

>For Florence & The 5th Dimension’s schedule:  http://www.thefifthdimension.org

>Visit LaMonte on Facebook, new website coming soon!

(FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, copyright ’14, The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., photos/portrait credits as attributed above.)


FOREVER 5th DIMENSION presents The original 5th Dimension as you’ve never seen them before with this bit of Halloween fun! And thanks for joining us at our globally acclaimed tribute Blog where it’s always a “Champagne Soul” adventure–

FOREVER 5th DIMENSION by Robert-Allan Arno: A blog in tribute to the multi-Grammy winning stars of The original 5th Dimension–yesterday, today, forever…

Think The 5th Dimension and a kaleidoscope of hiply elegant sounds and images so readily dance in the mind’s eye, that we still breathe a collective sigh of unadulterated joy. Their uniquely eclectic brand of “Champagne Soul” garnered chart-toppers galore as Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, LaMonte McLemore and Ron Townson united people with their uplifting, harmonious sound during the turbulent times of the late 60′s-early 70′s.

At Forever 5th Dimension we present some history, new interviews & lots of current events:

*Marilyn & Billy news–married 45 years, the dynamic duo of McCoo & Davis tour to the best reviews of their career!

*Florence & The (current) 5th Dimension news–Delightful Diva LaRue leads today’s 5th to sold-out shows & appears in her one-woman show, “Just As I Am,” too. Florence will soon toast 50 years with The 5th Dimension.

*LaMonte news–Mr. McLemore’s upcoming memoir FROM HOBO FLATS to THE 5th DIMENSION arrives in time for Christmas season ’14, Robert-Allan Arno is the project’s as-told-to author.

It’s Sunshine, Picnics, Balloons and Bells, always with lots of love…right here!

–Robert-Allan Arno

(Forever 5th Dimension, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd.)