Tag Archives: Bones Howe

9th Anniversary Edition of Forever 5th Dimension

9th ANNIVERSARY COLLAGE TWO9 years ago, while sitting in Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.’s suite, post-show at the Cafe Carlyle, during our “cozy catch-up” visit I presented the concept of the “Forever 5th Dimension” blog-magazine.  It was met with immediate instinctual approval by “MarBill” with Billy smiling, “I like the title,” and Marilyn adding with a wink, “I’d read it!”  And that they both have, with such kind and astute validation & participation over these past 9 years where we first started on MySpace and migrated over to WordPress in recent years!

After decades of affiliation with my heroes, the members of The Original 5th Dimension, these past 9 years have been cherished for so many reasons, the adventures we’ve shared alone are thrilling: the St. Louis Walk of Fame Induction of The 5th Dimension, the Friar’s Club salute to Marilyn & Billy, the book launch in Vegas of LaMonte McLemore’s memoir, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension” for which I am the co-author, helping promote Florence LaRue’s astounding one-woman “Jazz a LaRue!” show at NYC’s Metropolitan Room and our attending some Broadway shows together to toast it all!  PLAYLIST SCAN 001Compiling tunes with the group’s members and doing liners for “Playlist” for Sony just like we did with “Ultimate 5th Dimension” was “scholarly hip”…and of course, reporting on the countless sold-out, ovation inducing concert events of Marilyn & Billy (the First Couple of Pop n’ Soul) and the indomitable Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension (including Patrice Morris, Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker & Floyd Smith) is simply sensational!  And our worldwide fan participation for each of our star’s birthdays is always an awesome “sunshine” celebration!  Marilyn & Billy, Florence and LaMonte (plus Kyle Townson who is so supportive in repping his beloved dad, Ron)–each of them are not only cherished friends but mentoring colleagues who are a total pleasure to work with…their taste and faithful ethic are unparalleled. It just makes sense that the essence of The 5th Dimension brought our world together in harmony during the turbulent times of the late ’60’s/early 70’s…and it’s a blessing that these artists continue to enthrall us with such magic and energy, today.  Also the support of another personal mentor, renowned producer Bones Howe is never forgotten.

DANCING

The Original 5th Dimension

So, in celebrating our 9th year, I want to conclude with a few links to some of my favorite editions…as we look forward to new horizons from our favorite stars…that’s what “Forever 5th” is all about!  In  gratitude, Robert-Allan Arno

–2 summers ago, Marilyn & Billy stopped by for this “super-sized” edition of FOREVER 5th called “Singing in the Light.” We had so much fun going deep into sentimental recordings, answering fan questions…we actually laughed and cried!  Take a look back, here: https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/marilyn-billy-singing-in-the-light/

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     If you’re reading FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, then you’re well-acquainted with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.:  the seven-time Grammy winning founding members and former lead singer…

–This past February’s special edition for Black History Month featured a charming segment on the timeless Florence’s milestone birthday soire with heartfelt thoughts from our “delightful diva,” herself and special photo ops.  We include The 5th’s recognition by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, too. Read “Celebrating A Legacy” here: https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/celebrating-a-legacy/

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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 …

–It took 4 years to co-pen LaMonte’s now hit memoir, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension: A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography and Music,” and Mac & I would never trade the excavating experience for anything in the word, lol!  We celebrated the book’s launch in  early ’15, an “afternoon in Vegas” via “Mac & Arno’s onstage chat show” with special guests Marilyn & Billy (and proclamations from Florence and Bones)…and then we attended MarBill’s stellar Valentine’s show that evening! Read all about it here aka “Valentine’s in Vegas: Mac’s New Book, MarBill’s Sold-Out Show”: https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/lamonte-marilyn-billy-macs-new-book-marbills-sold-out-show/

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LaMonte, Marilyn & Billy: a Valentine’s in Vegas Escapade! by Robert-Allan Arno Dateline Feb 14: “After all, The 5th Dimension stood for love,” is part of …

–Remembering Ron “Sweets” Townson’s birthday is always important at FOREVER 5th DIMENSION. But for our 9th anniversary, we also acknowledge the recent anniversary of his passing, Aug. 2, 2001.  Let’s put the spotlight on his lasting musical legacy with a look at our most comprehensive salute ever, experience “Sweet Memories of Sweets” here: https://forever5thdimension.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/celebrating-ron-townsons-birthday/

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SWEET MEMORIES OF “SWEETS” by Robert-Allan Arno As we honor his official birth date (it’s January 29 and not the 20th as so many sites state in inadvertent error) at “Foreve…

–We have some nifty interviews with Bones Howe in our archive (the old MySpace days!) and will bring you some excerpts–by popular request– in the near future!

Lovely Quotes from Lovely People:

“Robert, no one can weave all of those elements about our music together in a superb lyrical tapestry like you do. You have a way with words that is truly God’s gift to you.” —Marilyn McCoo

“I’m  so proud of the work Robert does for The 5th Dimension’s biography and my own, I’ve truly learned so much from him!”–LaMonte McLemore

“Robert is ‘The 6th Dimension!’”–Florence LaRue on Rewound Radio

“Robert, you never cease to amaze us! Know how much we appreciate you & your involvement in our life & career over the years. With so much knowledge to share, you bring a spirit of excellence to all that you do. We love you!”  —Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.

“Robert brings his rare passion to The 5th Dimension legacy, he is wonderful in  keeping us fresh in his creativity.”–Bones Howe, The 5th Dimension Producer

Essential Links:

RARE FLOR WINGS

The Delightful Florence LaRue

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

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First Couple of Pop & Soul

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

book coverVisit LaMonte McLemore on: Facebook, Twitter @LaMonteMcLemore, 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

Special thanks to Steve Rosenblum of Sterling Winters

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, copyright 2008-17, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., intellectual property, all rights reserved)

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Dimension 5ive!

Spring 2016 is here and our favorite stars are as busy as ever with “today’s projects!”  MB 1Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. who by the way, will be celebrating 47 years of marriage this coming July, are happily touring with both their acclaimed concerts plus special Broadway-like retrospective, “Up, Up and Away–a Musical Fable.”  By fan request, East coast appearance dates this spring!

COOL 5th BODY NOW THREEFlorence LaRue & The 5th Dimension (Patrice Morris, Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker and Floyd Smith) sell out vast crowds wherever they take the stage with their exciting evening of harmonious n’ hip “Champagne Soul.”  The timeless Florence is celebrating 50 years with The 5th! And just in–they’ll be performing in the Philippines this May!

Vegas Mac Glover TwoLaMonte McLemore has added to the accomplishment of his hit memoir which I had to pleasure and honor to co-author (“From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension: A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography and Music”) with a fun joke book and a new inspiring tune, “If I Could Fly.”

Now, here’s a little more “Dimension 5ive” news (before I give you links to all the above)…from a classic golden jingle to thoughts from Patrice and Toni, to celebrating Bones and remembering Frank, Jr….and thank YOU, fans & friends, for being part of “Forever 5th Dimension!”  —Robert-Allan

RARE 101 closeupIt’s a “Great Golden Day!”  New, from the FOREVER 5th DIMENSION YouTube page, our production of the retro Coca Cola jingle circa ’68…very much in the genre of the “Stoned Soul Picnic” album, The 5th’s unmatched style, shining even in commercial form with a Bossa Nova feel, is addictive all these years later!  Take a listen & look at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7IziFzZCvU&feature=youtu.be

Forever 5th Dimension is proud to present The Original 5th Dimension with this classic jingle basked in their quintessential “5th style,” circa ’68 for Coca …

patrice birthday 14 Patrice says!:  Here’s a lovely reflection from soprano Patrice Morris about being a member of The 5th Dimension, today and working with the legendary Florence LaRue:  “I’m so blessed to work with some of the most talented, spirit-filled people. The beautiful Ms. Florence LaRue is every bit the master teacher of elegance, poise, and stage presence. I’ve learned so much just being in her company and watching her. Willie Williams, Leonard A Tucker Jr and Floyd A Smith are absolutely charming. I love singing with them and just hanging out with them. The 5th Dimension is such a classy group that still packs out venues almost everywhere we go. I’m still amazed by the response we receive from our loyal, faithful fans. It’s incredibly awesome and I’m honored to be a member of this ongoing, long lasting, talented group.” —Patrice Morris

Love from Toni! Toni Tennille of Captain & Tennille fame shared this about working with Marilyn & Billy last month, for “International Woman’s Day”:  “Marilyn and Billy are two lovely people, and SHE is such a terrific singer! I haven’t seen them in quite a few years, but every time I think of them it is with great fondness.”  Here’s Marilyn & Billy joining Toni & Daryl for a mighty “You’re All I Need to Get By,” as performed on “The Captain & Tennille Show,” ’77: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJv-bxIMz20 

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Up-Up & Away album recording session:  l to r–Florence, Ron, Marilyn, Billy, LaMonte,.Bones Howe, and Jimmy Webb

Mr. Bones! Recently we celebrated the birthday of 5th producer extraordinaire, Grammy-winning (“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”) Bones Howe.  On behalf of myself and The 5th Dimension, I wrote this to Sir Bones:  “3/18–Happy Birthday to a genius producer who has made all our lives brighter in the music, and personally, in knowing you, Bones. Thank you for your friendship and mentor-ship…we honor you today at ‘Forever 5th Dimension.’ Many continued blessings to a great man!”

Sinatra Jr.Remembering Frank, Jr.: And sadly, we mourned the untimely passing of Frank Sinatra, Jr.  Marilyn & Billy stated, “The Sinatra family was always so kind to The 5th Dimension, and we enjoyed working with Frank, Jr. on a number of occasions. His incredible musical gift will be missed along with his special sense of humor.”  Plus, LaMonte and myself extended our condolences to our kind friend, Nancy Sinatra.  Recently, Florence & The 5th Dimension guest-starred at the the Frank Sinatra 100th Year Gala, signifying the group’s ongoing connection to the Sinatra legacy…as we all continue to pray for the family.

FRANK SILVER

The Original 5th Dimension appear on Frank, Sr.’s TV special, ’68:  “Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing”

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Visit Marilyn & Billy for concert news, more at:  http://www.mccoodavis.com You’ll find their 2-volume latest Live CD there!

marbill CHRISTMAS CONCERTS

Or “Like” their official Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Facebook page!

Visit Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension for tour schedule and more at:  http://www.5thdimensionlive.com/RARE ALTERN 5th

Or Florence‘s website at:  http://www.florencelarue.com

Here are LaMonte McLemore‘s latest projects, and don’t forget to friend him on Facebook!

The hit memoir—FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5TH DIMENSION with raves from Johnny Mathis, Mary Wilson & Nancy Sinatra, 50 photos, even a recipe…New! The joke book—500+ “naughty but nice” jokes to tickle your funny bone…The song—Uplifting in that 5th tradition, Mac’s lyrics make “If I Could Fly” an inspiring musical mantra!

Pick up each, at these easy links:
book cover–The Memoir on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692307362
–The Joke Book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Everyone-loves-dirty-ti…/…/ref=sr_1_1…
–The Song at CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/juliohanson

Appreciation 51aquarius single

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PRINCEBreaking News:  Forever 5th Dimension is saddened by the untimely passing of music legend, Prince. Our prayers for his family and sympathies to his legions of fans. Marilyn & Billy state: “Prince’s impact on music will long be felt. He opened new doors, created new sounds. As well, the world has been seeing so many amazing stories about Prince–the person. What a beautiful heart he had. Long live his influence!” And fans Brian Medoro and Andy Gard remind that Florence & The 5th Dimension joyfully covered a Prince tune called “Strollin'” a few years back, in-concert.  Perhaps they’ll now add “Purple Rain” to their memorable “Rain Medley,” in homage.

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of the Voice, Ltd., 2008-16, all rights reserved.  Photo credits:  David Costa, Getty Images, Nancy Sinatra, The Arno 5th Dimension McCoo/Davis Legacy Collection, Ray Glover)

Remembering Maurice White

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FOREVER 5th DIMENSION expresses prayerful sympathies on the loss of Maurice White, founder of legends Earth, Wind & Fire. In his memoir, FROM HOBO FLATS TO THE 5th DIMENSION, LaMonte McLemore noted how all the up & coming artists, from The Temptations, to The 5th Dimension, to Earth, Wind & Fire, would pool their monies and their dreams, staying at “Hobo Flats” as a supportive launch pad to their mutual successes. Moreover, in my liner notes to The Ultimate 5th Dimension CD, producer Bones Howe shared this about the hit, “Stoned Soul Picnic”: “Maurice White confessed to me that when he heard ‘Stoned Soul,’ it quote, did it for him! It inspired him to form Earth, Wind & Fire!”

Maurice White, his unparalleled vision and artistry are eternal.

Robert-Allan Arno

Merry 5th-mas Viewing! (2016 update)

CHRISTMAS Y T F

As biographer of The Original 5th Dimension and LaMonte McLemore, I’ve often been asked why The 5th didn’t record a Christmas album or one “major holiday perennial.”  I went right to our pal, Bones Howe (The 5th’s Dimension’s Grammy-wining producer) for some insight:  “Robert, perhaps it was an oversight, but the group was so busy on the road and on TV, that my time with The 5th in-studio was very select…my focus was on getting hits and cohesive albums for them.”  LaMonte adds, “It’s my one regret, Robert. Studio sessions were of utmost importance to The 5th Dimension, we just couldn’t find the right time with our busy schedules to give a Christmas recording the justice it deserved.”  

And so friends, here’s an array of Christmas goodies post-Original 5th days, starring Marilyn McCoo, Florence LaRue, Marilyn & Billy Davis, Jr., and The 5th Dimension (today) from various TV appearances over the years! *Bonus: And Marilyn & Billy add new special commentary to the festivities, exclusively for FOREVER 5th!

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Marilyn with Donna Summer, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_WC7v4PlXU

FLOR CHRISTMASHoliday Greetings from Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA42qt0BYAY

marilynmccoo-billydavisjr NEW SESSION ALTMarilyn & Billy, “Mary Did You Know?”:

*Marilyn & Billy share:  “This is a personal favorite of ours!  We think this song may resurface again, perhaps in another format–we like it so much!”
https://youtu.be/wj6AEysG-_g

fLOR RED BOB BARRY

Florence sings “My Grown-Up Christmas List” Live on West Coast Praze:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Cj1g-RkVks

Recorded as a limited edition single over a decade ago, Florence expressed these sentiments: “The lyrics just spoke to my heart. More than ever, during this holiday season, we all need songs of healing and hope. ‘My Grown-Up Christmas List’ is just that anthem.”

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Marilyn, Christmas in Washington, “Sweet Little Jesus Boy”:

*Marilyn mentions:  “This performance was a cherished moment.”
https://youtu.be/S9xNbCT0Cyc

marilynseason4

A Solid Gold Christmas (many parts!) starring Marilyn McCoo and special guests Andrae Crouch, Crystal Gale, Laura Branigan, Sister Sledge, Marie Osmond, more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P4Jc_m4sQA

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Marilyn & Billy with Mel Torme, “Jingle Bells” plus a “Sleigh Ride” bonus:
*MarBill express with enthusiasm–
Billy: “This was from a PBS special.  Working with Mel was a highlight of our careers! “
Marilyn:  “I mean as former members of The 5th Dimension, we didn’t want to not be on top of our harmony game! (both laugh) Mel’s spontaneity and creativity really kept us on our toes!  We were challenged…”
Billy: “…and very pleased with the outcome.”

Some cute holiday dancin’ fun with The Original 5th Dimension (from Forever 5th Dimension and Jib-Jab!): 

SANTA 5th

*Marilyn & Billy sum it up so beautifully:  “Robert, you’ve provided links to some of the lesser known but truly important (artistically) performances our our careers.  Thank you for the time, thought and energy you put into the chronicling of Florence’s, LaMontes’, Ronald’s and our lives.  You are a blessing!”

Fans & friends, thank you for “tuning in” to the FOREVER 5th DIMENSION blog, entering our 9th year.  The continued enthusiastic support from you and our stars–Marilyn & Billy, Florence, and LaMonte is both heartwarming and exhilarating! It’s been an exciting year, and we’ll be featuring our “Greatest Hits of 2016” countdown right here, between Christmas & New Year. 

With Holiday Warmth,

Robert-Allan Arno

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It’s a holiday tradition, Marilyn McCoo’s White Christmas, available at http://www.mccoodavis.com

ItLaMonte Xmas Santa

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., copyright ’08-16, intellectual property, all rights reserved.)

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!!

What Comes From Our Hearts: Celebrating Billy Davis Jr.’s Birthday

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In his memoir, “From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension,” founder of The 5th Dimension and life-long friend, LaMonte McLemore earmarks Billy Davis, Jr.’s interpretation of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” as incomparable, bringing a tear to his eye. As biographer of both The original 5th and “Mac,” I was so proud to have it released (in medley with “People Gotta Be Free”) as a rarity selection on the current CD chart-topper, “Playlist: The Very Best of The 5th Dimension” on Sony-Legacy. Florence LaRue confided to a recent audience at her solo cabaret show, “My all-time favorite song by The 5th Dimension is ‘Misty Roses!’” That’s Billy’s “sweet-soul” side, way back-in-the-day from the very first “Up-Up and Away” album. Compare this to his “flip side,” as both the bluesy “When Something is Wrong with My Baby” and the gritty “Steppin’ In” stop the show “live in person,” and on the exemplary Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.’s latest double volume Live CD!

Dubbed one of our greatest Soul singers by the renown of Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire), Eddie Levert (The O’Jays) and Jimmy “Up-Up and Away” Webb, Billy noted recently to Michael Feinstein on his “Song Travels” radio show, “Nat King Cole was a major early inspiration.” In a mini “Master Class” Marilyn & Billy provided at our Blog, FOREVER 5th DIMENSION, Billy’s reminder to artists was to “tell the story…and let your notes highlight the feeling.” “’What comes from the heart, goes to the heart’ is my husband’s motto,” smiled Marilyn.  No wonder Ashford & Simpson picked up on this “heartfelt” quality in The 5th’s fan favorite version of their sizzling composition, “California Soul,” a group song, like “Ashes to Ashes” that is rather Billy-driven. Oh, and the socially-conscious “Ashes” is one of Billy’s personal faves, he shared on the radio a few years back!

REWOUND Radio’s Bob Radil in talking with me about the legacy of The 5th, cited Billy’s improv on “Let the Sunshine In” as a watershed moment in recording history. I responded, “Billy’s call to ‘Sing along with The 5th Dimension’ was irresistible…how could the nation not!” Marilyn continued in our “class,” noting her hubby’s directorial chops, too, “Billy guided my phrasing on ‘One Less Bell,’ in fact, he helped all the members with their solos.”

On Gospel tunes like “The Love of God,” from Billy’s project with Rev. James Cleveland and re-issued, “Billy has made women swoon at our church appearances,” observes Marilyn with a sympathetic giggle. “That’s not me, it’s God working through me,” Billy retorts humbly, and maybe most importantly of all. Famed 5th producer Bones Howe tells me, “On ‘The Magic Garden’ album alone, if you juxtapose ‘Requiem: 820 Latham’ (one of Marilyn’s personal faves) with ‘The Worst That Could Happen’ with ‘Summer’s Daughter’ (the latter, one of Bones’ sentimental likes), you’ll hear all the ‘dimensions’ of Billy.” Indeed, there are so many dimensions, so many more songs with that “Billy Davis, Jr. touch”–his stamp of artistic excellence.

It’s become a yearly tradition to tell us your favorite “Billy tune” while “speaking with your heart” to wish him a Happy Birthday. However, this year for 2015, we present a twist with the following question: 

If and when Marilyn & Billy record their next CD of duets with select solos, which all-time classic Soul, Blues, Gospel or American Pop Standard tune would you love Billy to record…or perhaps what previously recorded “Billy solo” would you like him to re-visit? 

We’ll send all your “trains of thought” and greetings over to “Sir Davis” and his proud wife of nearly 46 years, the lovely Ms. McCoo, on his special morning of June 26th…our cherished and respected “Gentleman of Soul.”  —Robert-Allan Arno

(copyright 2014, 15, The Soul of the Voice, Ltd.)

Here are our 2015  fan “results”–

    • Susan Aglio I would love for Billy to re-record my favorite, “The Singer!” Happy Birthday, Billy! I hope to see you and Marilyn very soon!
    • David Pendleton Without question the best Billy solo is “The Worst That Could Happen!”  I confess he’s inspired me to try and record it!  Happy birthday to a musical hero.
    • Elston Harry Give me a minute!!!
    • Alain Baptiste Robert-Allan, Mariette and I would want Mr. Davis to record his version of the Louis Armstrong perennial WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, we think he’d give it a tender new, excuse the pun, dimension! Happy Birthday and God bless a great man.
    • Andy Gard How about Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”? That has a bluesy feel that Billy could knock out of the park (to borrow a baseball metaphor from Lamonte & you, Robert). BTW, happy birthday, Mr. D!
    • Robert-Allan Arno “That’s Life”…that’s ingenious! Thanks Andy!!
    • Deniserose Torres To re-visit, already my favorite…”Let it Be Me”… Happy birthday Billy..wishing you a wonderful day..
    • Loretta Sorensen That was a difficult task but I would enjoy Billy performing “Fields of Gold” by Sting. It’s so pure and pretty, sort of like Billy’s “Misty Roses,” one of my favorites. Happy Birthday Billy and many more to come!
    • Robert-Allan Arno Thanks Deniserose, Loretta and everyone…this thread is becoming fascinating…perfect for Billy’s day!
    • Susie Paige I would love to hear Billy sing “His Eye is On the Sparrow”. Birthday cake
    • William Q. Singleton (aka Bill Quinn/METROMEDIA RADIO) Robert, I’d really love to hear them sing “Waters of March!” It’s such a sublime song and one of Jobim’s best. It’s probably a long shot, but a complete project of American Pop Standards would really be a treat and give fans an opportunity to see their amazing range and talents as singers.
    • Antonio Pereira Happy Birthday Billy! How’s about you and Marilyn recording your own version of ‘Where Is The Love’?
    • Renee T Armstead Happy Birthday Billy!! It was SO great to see you and Marilyn this past Saturday. The show was the best and Barbara and I were thrilled to be blessed with a front row seat!! As you may remember, my favorite “Billy” tune is “A Change is Gonna Come.”  If and when you and Marilyn record a new CD of duets with select solos, I think you would do a superb job of “Hold On, I’m Coming”, the oldie by Sam and Dave. Meanwhile, God bless you both. Enjoy your birthday Soul Man!

      Renee T Armstead's photo.
    • Douglas C. Charles Billy – Happy Birthday to one awesome singer!! You are so loved and admired. I cherish my recordings of you and the group as well as the wonderful memories of seeing you/meeting you in person. I hope this birthday is your best ever. I wish you love, joy and many happy returns.
    • Estes John Happy Birthday Billy. An updated version of THE SINGER would be great to hear.
    • Paul Corley It would be great to hear a remake of “Feelin’ Alright” or “Half Moon.” Have a Happy Birthday, Billy, and thank you for sharing your gift with the world.
    • Bob Radil Antonio mentioned “Where Is The Love.”  A duet I was thinking of is “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” but oops, they’re both negative and duets! Robert-Allan mentioned a Billy *solo.* First song to come to mind, “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Could that work? This may be a bit corny but it could be preceded by Marilyn doing “Which Way You Going Billy.”
    • Robert-Allan Arno Bob, you are onto something “psychic,” lol…MarBill performed “Where is the Love” on TV back in the day (“The Sonny and Cher Show”) and made it sound quite positive, lol…and Billy did record “When a Man…” on the MarBill CD done for their 40th anniversary, “The Many Faces of Love.”
    • Robert-Allan Arno I will add my, hopefully more than 2 cents, lol. “A Change is Gonna Come, ” and “Leave a Little Room” are my two fave Billy recorded solos, I’m wondering if he could work them into a new medley. More concretely, he has mentioned Nat King Cole as an early influence. I’d like to hear Billy record “Nature Boy,” but not as a ballad or even with a Jazz vibe, but against a Blues arrangement…Billy’s sense of pathos as well as musicality while talking about “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return” would be incomparable.
    • Martha E. Vink Happy Birthday to Billy! I’d love to hear him do some old Gospel tunes. A whole album full!
    • Brian Medoro I want to hear a whole album of Rock n Roll, Soul, Blues from Billy. Whatever he likes, it would be great.  Some of my older favorites are I’ve Got A Feeling, Don’t Stop For Nothin’, Requiem 820, I Just Want To Be Your Friend…Amazing! There’s no one like you. Have a fantastic day.!
    • Jeffrey Graham Happy Birthday blessings to one of our greatest musical treasures! I would love to hear Billy’s take on the Bill Withers/Grover Washington classic, “Just The Two Of Us!”
    • Kenneth Green Happy Birthday, Mr. Davis! Summer’s Daughter is my favorite. I’d like to see you tackle that again.
      Blake Morant Sorry I’ve been out of the loop a bit, Robert-Allan Arno. Business travel wreaks havoc. I must, however, add my personal, albeit belated, tribute to the great Billy Davis, Jr. His impassioned, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” remains a classic and very relevant today. If I were privileged enough to make a request, I would ask him to record Michael Bolton’s hit, “That’s What Love Is All About.” Billy’s soulful renderings would give this song all new poignancy. It also captures the essence of his inspirational relationship with the equally great, Marilyn McCoo.
      And from LaMonte McLemore’s Facebook Page:
      Tomorrow, June 26 is the birthday of one of our greatest Soul singers, my musical colleague, and a forever friend, Mr. Billy Davis, Jr. Enjoy this salute at the FOREVER 5th DIMENSION blog, by Robert-Allan Arno. And all greetings you post here for Billy will be sent on over to him! A birthday “right on,” my brother, and God bless you always! –LaMonte
    • Gary Mallitz Judi and I wish you a wonderful birthday.
    • Little Anthony Gourdine Happy Birthday Billy!!
      Unlike · Reply · 2 · 9 hrs
    • Joan Truelove Happy Birthday Billy. Enjoy your Day.
    • Mable Buckner Billy, Happy Birthday!! Jimmy “Fashion Plate” Payton and I hope you have a fantastic birthday! We hope to see you and Marilyn soon!
    • Judy Millet Have a beautiful birthday Billy!Birthday cake
Nancie Roman Happy Birthday Billy. Wishing you many, many more. I hope you enjoy your special day! Birthday cake

Manuel Esparza Happy Birthday Billy from all of us at:
Chicano-magazine.com
Here are greetings from special fans & friends, 2014: 

Renee T Armstead: I can’t believe LaMonte feels the same as I do about “A Change is Gonna Come.” It brings tears to my eyes too! That is my favorite Billy song! Also, I’ve always loved the fact that Billy was named the Sunny Dimension when the group was together.  I have truly loved getting to know him and Marilyn all through these years. Happy Birthday!

Susie Paige: Have a happy birthday, Billy! “Somebody Warm Like Me” is one of my personal favorites. Thanks for all the great music!…Gabriel Pellegrino:  Billy is the Man! May God bless you with many more years!… Elston Harry: Billy, Happy Birthday, I will celebrate you!…Douglas C. Charles: Billy, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you a few times over the years & you have always been so gracious.  “Steppin In” has become a new favorite of mine. I hope before I die to hear you sing “Leave A Little Room.” Been enjoying your solos since the first album (“Which Way to Nowhere”).  God Bless & “Be Good” as your autographs used to say…Dale Kocik: So many favorites–“Feelin Alright, Every Night, Those Were The Days, Guess Who.” Thanks so much for all of the great music, Happy Birthday Bily!…Estes John: Happy Birthday Billy. My all-time personal fave Billy-lead/solo song has always been BROKEN WING BIRD followed by IT’LL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN…Loretta Sorensen: Trying to choose just one favorite Billy Davis Jr. song is like trying to eat just one potato chip! Since I don’t stop at one chip, my favorites are Let It Be Me, Misty Roses, A Change Is Gonna Come, Requiem: 820 Latham. Happiest of Birthday’s dear Billy and thank you for always being so kind to me…Isis LaShawn Hardy:I enjoyed reading the Forever 5Th article. My top 5 favorite Billy led songs are– My Song, Too Poor to Die, It’ll Never be the Same Again, Ashes to Ashes, and Requiem: 820 Latham. But I must give props to Billy’s lead on Feelin’ Alright. It is my FAVORITE version of the song. It grooves!

Alain Baptiste: We thought about this, Robert-Allan. Billy has been a light in our lives for many years now. His in a split second recognizable sound, the dedication to everything he does, is something we have come to expect but never take for granted. With pride, we love him and Marilyn more than we can say. Adding, “Let It Be Me” is the bomb! Mariette and Alain Baptiste…

A. Scott Galloway: Happy Birthday Billy! To this day I cherish a conversation I had with Marilyn at Warner Bros. for her “The Me Nobody Knows” CD where she told me her favorite performance of yous was “Requiem: 820 Latham,” reciting some of Jimmy Webb’s vivid lyrics to me like poetry. I went home, pulled my “The Magic Garden” album out and it brought tears to my eyes. I’ve loved you and “The 5th” – my 1st favorite group – since I was 4 and my family drove from Ann Arbor to Rialto with the “Up-Up And Away” LP as our road soundtrack. Wishing you many happy returns and Much Love Always.
 


Arno Takes The 5th, This Friday on Rewound Radio!

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REWOUND, baby! Friends, I’ll be on my pal Bob Radil‘s Friday night radio show on the retro yet ever-fresh Rewound Radio, this Friday night June 13th…talkin’ ’bout the new “Playlist: The Very Best of The 5th Dimension” compilation and other goodies, I didn’t say oldies!  Featuring a special story from LaMonte and secrets from Bones! Approx 7 PM, EST, tune in and join us on the net at: www.rewoundradio.com

–Robert-Allan Arno, Biographer, The original 5th Dimension & LaMonte McLemore

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