Marilyn McCoo

Marilyn McCoo (born September 30, 1943) is an African-American singer, actress, and television presenter, who is best known for being the lead female vocalist in the group The 5th Dimension, as well as hosting the 1980s music countdown series Solid Gold. She is the wife of singer Billy Davis, Jr., the founder and co-member of The 5th Dimension, whom she married in 1969. McCoo was born in Jersey City, New Jersey to Waymon and Mary McCoo, who were both doctors.[1] At the age of seven, she moved with her parents, two sisters, and brother to Los Angeles, where she commenced singing, piano and dance lessons. At the age of 15, she joined Art Linkletter‘s Talent Show and began modelling.[2] After graduating from high school, she enrolled in UCLA, where she earned a degree in business administration. In 1962, McCoo entered the Miss Bronze California beauty pageant where she came in first place.[3] At this event, she met Lamonte McLemore, a part-time vocalist and photographer for Jet magazine. Her photos, taken by McLemore, were featured in the magazine’s Jet Beauty of the Week section.

In the early and mid-1960s, McCoo was a member of the Hi-Fi’s, who often opened for Ray Charles. She had been invited to join the group by photographer Lamonte McLemore, who would himself join McCoo in The 5th Dimension. Other Hi-Fi members included Harry Elston and Floyd Butler, who would go on to form The Friends of Distinction. She met Billy Davis, Jr. in 1966 when he established The 5th Dimension, then called The Versatiles, which would also include Ron Townson and Florence LaRue. The latter had won the title of Miss Bronze California in 1963. The group’s first big hit was with 1967’s “Up, Up and Away“, written by Jimmy Webb. The song won four 1968 Grammy Awards and was the title track to 5th Dimension’s first hit LP. Their follow-up was a cover of Laura Nyro‘s “Stoned Soul Picnic“. “Wedding Bell Blues“, featuring McCoo’s most prominent vocal of that period, and a medley of “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (from the musical Hair) both reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1969 with “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In” winning the Grammy for ‘Record of the Year’. By the early 1970s, McCoo began to sing lead on the group’s remaining chart-topping singles, “One Less Bell to Answer“, “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All” and “If I Could Reach You.”

“Wedding Bell Blues”

1968 “Stoned Soul Picnic”

In 1975, McCoo and Davis left The 5th Dimension and began performing as a duo. Landing a contract with ABC Records, they recorded their 1976 debut album, I Hope We Get to Love in Time. The first single was the title track, which was a mid-chart hit. Their follow up, “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)” was an even bigger hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1977. McCoo and Davis were awarded a gold single and a gold album as well as a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. They also hosted their own television program, The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr Show, on CBS in Summer 1977. After one more album on ABC in 1978, the pair signed with CBS Records the following year and released their last album as a duo until October 2008 when the pair released The Many Faces of Love, a collection of hit songs from the 1960s and 1970s.

“You Don’t Have To Be A Star” performed by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

She was the first to recordSaving All My Love for You” in 1978, later sung by Whitney Houston. The album “Marilyn and Billy”, featured that track as well as a disco hit, “Shine On Silver Moon”. The pair decided to go solo professionally in the early 1980s with McCoo hosting the popular American syndicated television series Solid Gold from 1981 through 1984 and again from 1986 through 1988. She also created a successful nightclub and concert act, and went on to appear as Tamara Price on Days of our Lives in 1986, as a friend of Marlena Evans who sang at her wedding. She later became involved with James Reynolds‘ character Abe Carver, and left the series in 1987.

Neil Sedaka joins Marilyn McCoo on Solid Gold in 1981-82 to sing a duet of “The Hungry Years”, a song written and composed by the great team of Sedaka/Greenfield.

Her 1991 album, The Me Nobody Knows, was nominated for a Grammy. She also released a Christmas album in 1994. McCoo won her eighth Grammy for her contributions to Quincy Jones’ Handel’s Messiah. McCoo has acted in a number of movies, including Grizzly Adams and the Legend of Dark Mountain (1999), My Mom’s a Werewolf (1989) and a number of television movies, often playing herself. She has appeared on stage in productions of Anything Goes, A…My Name is Alice, Man of La Mancha, and the Broadway production of Show Boat in 1995 through 1996. McCoo appeared together with Davis on The Jamie Foxx Show as Fancy’s parents, the Monroes. McCoo married fellow Fifth Dimension bandmate Billy Davis, Jr., and as of 2010, they are still together. On July 26, 2009, they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.[4] The couple shared their story of love and faith in the 2004 book, Up, Up and Away. They continue to perform together in venues around the country. McCoo has no children. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. As of January 2010[update] she is Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Mission.[5]

The 5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In
Marilyn McCoo
Florence LaRue
Billy Davis Jr.
Lamonte McLemore
Ron Townson

Lyrics : Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius!
Aquarius!

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius!
Aquarius!

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius!
Aquarius!
Aquarius!
Aquarius!

[instrumental and tempo shift]

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

[continue to end with concurrent scat]

Oh, let it shine, c’mon
Now everybody just sing along
Let the sun shine in
Open up your heart and let it shine on in
When you are lonely, let it shine on
Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in
And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated
And your friends turn away
Just open your heart, and shine it on in

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube, IMDB.com, marilynmccoo.com, http://www.discogs.com/artist/Marilyn+McCoo

Discography

Releases:
Solid Gold (LP) RCA 1983
It’s Raining Men / Lowdown / Shine On Silver Moon ◄ (2 versions) Unidisc
It’s Raining Men / Lowdown / Shine On Silver Moon (12″) Unidisc
It’s Raining Men / Lowdown / Shine On Silver Moon (12″) Unidisc
Appears On:
The Fantastic 5th Dimension (LP, Album) Liberty 1967
Greatest Hits On Earth (Comp) ◄ (4 versions) (Last Night) I Didn’t … Bell Records 1972
Greatest Hits On Earth (LP) (Last Night) I Didn’t … Bell Records 1972
Greatest Hits On Earth (LP, Comp) (Last Night) I Didn’t … Arista 1972
Greatest Hits On Earth (CD) (Last Night) I Didn’t … Arista 1985
Greatest Hits On Earth (LP, Comp, RE) (Last Night) I Didn’t … Arista
Individually & Collectively (LP, Album) (Last Night) I Didn’t … Bell Records 1972
Living Together, Growing Together (LP) Open Your Window Bell Records 1973
Soul & Inspiration (Album) ◄ (2 versions) Bell Records 1974
Soul & Inspiration (LP, Album) Bell Records 1974
Soul & Inspiration (LP, Album) Bell Records 1974
Earthbound (LP, Album) ABC Records 1975
I Hope We Get To Love In Time (Album) ◄ (3 versions) ABC Records 1976
I Hope We Get To Love In Time (LP) ABC Records 1976
I Hope We Get To Love In Time (LP, Album) ABC Records 1976
I Hope We Get To Love In Time (LP, Album) ABC Records 1976
The Age Of Aquarius (LP) Liberty
Tracks Appear On:
Gift For Lovers V (恋人達のバラード Vol.5) (CD) Keep The Lovelight Bur… Warner Music (Japan) 1992
Christmas Classics (CD, Comp) O Come, All Ye Faithful Regency Music 1994
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