New dimensions: Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr. bring holiday show to TiffinWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Live,” a new disc by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., opens with the couple singing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”
The couple knows something about that.
“In the industry that we work in, for us to be married for 44 years, it just knocks me out because in our industry, marriages don’t stay together that long,” Davis said.
“In the world!” McCoo added and laughed.
During a phone call from their Los Angeles home, the singers reminisced about meeting in 1965 when their group The 5th Dimension formed.
“The thing that was special between the two of us was that we both had a passion for music, and that was very clear to us early,” McCoo said. “That was an immediate connection.”
“I think that’s one of the main things that started our friendship, too, is that we knew we had that in common,” Davis said.
“But as far as falling in love, no, we had no idea that was in the cards,” McCoo said and laughed.
“In fact, we didn’t fall in love right away; it became a strong friendship,” Davis said. “The love bug hit a little later.”
Thanks to “Up, Up and Away” and “Stoned Soul Picnic,” the group was soaring when it released a landmark album in 1969.
“When we got ready to record our fourth album, ‘The Age of Aquarius,’ our producer Bones Howe brought [‘Wedding Bell Blues’] to us and thought it would be fun for me to sing it because Billy and I were going together,” McCoo recalled.
Penned by Laura Nyro, the infectious upbeat plea hit No. 1 in 1969, a few months after McCoo and Davis said “I do.”
“It’s a fun song and a tribute to our relationship,” McCoo said. “We never thought of it as being a single.”
“Then it took off, which was a real blessing for us. We still enjoy performing it today,” Davis said.
In 1975, the two left the group and one year later won a Grammy for “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show).” They won six Grammys with The 5th Dimension, which was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.
Released last month, “Live” features the couple in concert performing The 5th Dimension’s hits, including “One Less Bell to Answer,” as well as covering Alicia Keys, Lady Antebellum and The Beatles.
“We try to remain true to the music, like the harmonies that we sang with The 5th Dimension years ago. When we sing those songs, we want the presentation to be as close to what [fans] remember and what we enjoyed so much about doing it the first time,” McCoo said.
“And also true to the arrangement because we have the music and the arrangements, and we want to be true to that because that’s what people enjoy so much, and that’s what we enjoy so much,” Davis added.
McCoo and Davis will let the sun and the spirit of the season shine when they perform at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin. Tickets are $20-$40.
“We always do [the hits] and then part of our show is going to be a celebration of the holidays, of Christmas music. We’ve been working on material for that, we’re very excited about it. It’s something that we haven’t done,” McCoo said.
The stars plan to align in California for the holidays.
“We’re just hoping that we can be with the family,” Davis said.
“We’ll just be finishing up this brief Christmas tour that we’re doing, and we’ll be ready to get home and celebrate at somebody else’s house,” McCoo said and laughed.
Tags: 1969, Al Green, Alicia Keys, Billy Davis Jr., Grammys, Lady Antebellum, Marilyn McCoo, RItz Theatre, Stoned Soul Picnic, The 5th Dimension, The Age of Aquarius, The Beatles, Tiffin, Vocal Group Hall of Fame