Tag Archives: The Worst That Could Happen

“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)
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Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Soar at Jimmy Webb Celebration — Carnegie Hall, May 3, 2017

A Forever 5th Dimension Exclusive by Robert-Allan Arno

CARNEGIE COLLAGE


It seems like New York City, itself and everyone who’s excitedly peeking in from all over today’s social media is making “the world a nicer place” while still abuzz about this past Wednesday’s Jimmy Webb Celebration!JimmyWebbHeader_3 The star-studded extravaganza at the “venue of venues,” Carnegie Hall, heralded the tunesmith extraordinaire, composer of such classics as “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “MacArthur Park” and of course, the multi-Grammy winning “Up-Up and Away.”  At Forever 5th Dimension, we bring you exclusive coverage with that one-on-one, “MarBill touch”…
Our very own Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. immediately took the show to exemplary heights with their quintessential rendering of The Original 5th Dimension’s signature about that “beautiful balloon,” one that launched Jimmy’s career circa ’67, too. Defying the anthem’s 50th anniversary, the original lead singers of The 5th Dimension wowed the crowd exhibiting voices that were as pristine as ever while looking eternally glamorous and youthful. Marilyn’s stratospheric note at the end of “Up-Up and Away” would be metaphoric for the night’s entire uplifting affair.CARNEGIE UP UP

See the dynamic duo’s Carnegie Hall performance of “Up-Up and Away” here:  https://youtu.be/LH5Yhp2mYUM

Then Billy stepped forward to deliver a languidly poignant version of “Magic Garden” mainstay “The Worst That Could Happen” (you know, the original which inspired the Johnny Maestro/Brooklyn Bridge hit). magic gardenYou want some “Forever 5th” tid-bits?  Let’s shoot to the after-party at the trendy City Winery where Jimmy sighed about every original 5th-D member’s all-time fave album as we chatted: “Ah, ‘The Magic Garden,’ there was nothing like it…it was our very own ‘Sgt. Pepper.'” Billy confided to me about his Carnegie Hall rendition of TWTCH which received a well-deserved standing O, “I wanted to do the song for the fans and especially for Jimmy a bit more slowed down, to draw attention to his words…as it should be.”  Marilyn shared while we exchanged vocal preservation tips, “Billy avoided sweets the week before, so his delivery would be extra-crystal clear.”  Then we all bit into the celebratory luscious brownie triangles at the post-show soiree!

Savor Billy’s Carnegie Hall performance of “The Worst That Could Happen” here:  https://youtu.be/unsy1CxtWFQ

BIG GROUPBack to the stage, performances by other legends including Judy Collins, Art Garfunkel, BJ Thomas, Johnny Rivers, Dwight Yoakam, Catherine Zeta-Jones, surprise guest Michael Feinstein, Amy Grant and Graham Nash (both in duet with Jimmy), Broadway’s Liz Callaway, stunning newcomer currently touring with Stevie Wonder–Shelea and more, displayed the versatility of genre inherent in Webb’s unparalleled songwriting style.  The tribute, hosted by Jimmy’s old friend, actor Michael Douglas–with proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Foundation with regard to Jimmy’s friend and colleague Glen Campbell–also helped to usher in Webb’s new memoir, “The Cake and the Rain.” Ashley Campbell, Glen’s daughter made a touchingly memorable musical appearance while Toby Keith made a mighty one with his interpretation of “MacArthur Park.” We’re pleased to bring you the show’s complete song list, here:

LIZ CALLAWAY

The entire cast assembled “under the twilight canopy” for the big finale, with Marilyn & Billy leading their star compatriots to a soaring finish…

James Gavin

Finale in a “Beautiful Balloon” (photo courtesy James Gavin)

I mentioned to Marilyn how fitting it was that she and Billy virtually got to bookend the show with “Up-Up and Away.” The graceful lady thoughtfully reflected, “The night was so special for us, and so well-executed for Jimmy.”  I also noted that although they’ve toured all over the world since then, the twosome had last appeared at Carnegie Hall with The 5th Dimension in ’72…in fact, “If I Could Reach You” was the current hit Marilyn soloed with that night. Marilyn and Billy took it in like two kids listening to a favorite bedtime story–these are legacy artists who are non-jaded and define gracious.  I recalled, “I remember you guys were wearing those formal-looking black one-piece outfits with the silver embellishments.” Billy exclaimed, “That is correct! I remember those jumpsuits so well!”

JUMPSUIT

Here they are, The 5th Dimension in those “back in the day” black & silver jumpsuits!

I added, “When I co-wrote LaMonte’s (McLemore) memoir, he cited that particular sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall as the one the State Department took notice of. It essentially prompted them to make The 5th Dimension musical ambassadors, organizing your historic tour behind the ‘Iron Curtain.'” Marilyn responded with an endearingly wholesome, “Oh my gosh!” Billy capped things off with a heartfelt observation of the current night’s proceedings: “Robert, please tell the fans…to have all of us come together for Jimmy Webb, people like Johnny Rivers who really helped start it for us–The 5th Dimension as well as Jimmy…where we haven’t been in the same place at the same time for years, was truly astounding!”

CARNEGIE THREESOME DONE

L to R: Billy Davis, Jr., Robert-Allan Arno, Marilyn McCoo…embarking on a cozy chat at the Carnegie Hall after-party, City Winery, NYC

 Very special thanks to Steve Rosenblum, Sterling/Winters,

and Marilyn & Billy

Touring in their acclaimed autobiographical show, “Up-Up and Away–A Musical Fable,” for concert dates & more visit:  Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (Official) on Facebook, their website: http://www.mccoodavis.com or Twitter @mccoodavis

JIMMY MARBILL

Courtesy Jimmy Webb Facebook page

(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno, a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd. copyright 2008-2017, intellectual property, all rights reserved. Photo credits:  Arno 5th McCoo/Davis Legacy Collection, Jimmy Webb Facebook page, James Gavin)