HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISS McCOO
FOREVER 5th DIMENSION Celebrates “The Marilyn Solos”
by Robert-Allan Arno & the Fans
September 30th– It’s that memorable date when we get to celebrate not only the exquisite lady but “The Marilyn Solos,” those timeless recorded jewels that become impossibly more lovely with every year, just like La McCoo herself. Marilyn told me for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION that, “Even above our intensive touring, our recording sessions were always top priority.” Producer Bones Howe added, “Marilyn was so focused in the studio, all the members of The 5th Dimension were utmost professionals, but she would nail those solos of hers in a few takes, she always knew exactly where she was going.” The gracious songstress responded, “Oh, how wonderful to hear that from Bones, you know, my husband Billy (Davis, Jr.) helped me greatly with my phrasing.” And greats like Neil Sedaka (“Puppet Man,” “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing,”), Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson (“California Soul”), and Richard Addrisi (“Never My Love”) have told me for FOREVER 5th that Marilyn’s heartfelt way with a tune, from her torch treatments to more playful stylings, not only make her a beguiling star but a true “singer’s singer.” And wait, the multi-Tony award winning Audra MacDonald just cited Marilyn as an initial influence; “Marilyn McCoo has a beautiful voice,” she giggles like a kid, still enamored of the 7-time Grammy winning legend.
Of course the fans are “smitten” too and our special survey of select longtime members of the “McCoo Crew” certainly heralds a diverse array of faves. Just as REWOUND Radio this past weekend honored Marilyn’s birthday with her personal favorite solo, the transcendental “Love’s Lines, Angles and Rhymes,” Susan Aglio and Dave Maze both cast their votes for the soul-stirring “If I Could Reach You.” “I think of ‘One Less Bell to Answer’ by Burt Bacharach and Hal David as Marilyn’s signature,” firmly states Susie Paige, while Alain Baptiste recalls, “‘One Less Bell’ was a major hit on our top Soul stations like WBLS, as well as on the Pop charts.” Fans Deniserose Torres and Jonathan Weitz who just saw Marilyn & Billy sizzle at the Catalina Jazz club, share their joint account, “I’m speechless to describe Marilyn’s ‘One Less Bell,’ it’s too beautiful for any words I could come up with,” says Denise, while Jonathan concurs about the song’s “live” version, “Nothing is better than when Marilyn sings ‘One Less Bell’ to a well-deserved standing ovation!”