Monday, February 13, 2012

Musical Couples: Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr

The 5th Dimension: Wedding Bell Blues


Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr: You Don't Have to Be A Star (To Be In My Show)


There always was going to be a temptation to contribute to this week’s theme with Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston’s duet “We’ve Got Something In Common”, but this is not the time to riff satirically on one of the great tragic marriages in pop. Still, we’ll have a tenuous Whitney link: Marilyn McCoo was the original singer of Houston’s breakthrough hit “Saving All My Love For You”, which appeared on McCoo’s 1978 album with husband Billy Davis Jr.

McCoo and Davis have been married since 1969. In the world of celebrity, that is equivalent to having already celebrated your golden jubilee the day Moses was floating down the Nile in a basket. McCoo and Davis met as members of The 5th Dimension, the hippie-soul troupe whose hits included the 1968 cover of Laura Nyro’s “Wedding Bell Blues”, on which Marilyn McCoo implores somebody named Bill to finally marry her. McCoo (she is on the far right on the single sleeve) already was engaged to Davis (far left) at that point; in July 1969, the year the song was released, Marilyn finally saw her wedding day.

McCoo and Davis left The 5th Dimension in 1975, and continued as a duo, scoring a #1 hit with the Grammy-winning “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be On My Show)” in early 1977. And by summer 1977, they had their own (short-lived) TV show on CBS. The couple split professionally in the 1980s – McCoo presented Solid Gold for a while – but today they still perform together (check them out at

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