Saturday, May 18, 2024

Up, Up, and Away: Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr Hit Number 1 on iTunes R&B Album Chart with “Blackbird”


Congrats to Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Their “BLackbird” album tribute to Lennon and McCartney was finally released last night and hit number 1 on the iTunes R&B album chart.

McCoo and Davis were the lead singers of the amazing 5th Dimension, a group you will see featured soon in Questlove’s documentary, “Summer of Soul.” The 5th Dimension had dozens of hits from the 60s through the 70s, songs we still love today from “Up, Up, and Away” to “Aquarius/Let the Sumshine In,” “Stone Soul Picnic,” and “Last Night I Couldn’t Get to Sleep at All.”

They were the flip side of the Mamas and the Papas, and actually had more success. They also introduced many important songwriters like Laura Nyro and Jimmy Webb. Their records stand the test of time because of their gorgeous voices– all five of them– and the incredible musicians who played on the songs from the Wrecking Crew. Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, and so on.

Now McCoo and Davis, who are the most youthful 60s survivors you’ve ever seen, have made “Blackbird,” and what a fine record. These are real voices that have never aged. And I’m so impressed with the production. These tracks were really thought through. They aren’t just covers of Beatles songs. They are really reimagined, full of soul and harmony.

Between “Blackbird” and the new Merry Clayton album, the real stars of soul are showing the kids how it’s done!



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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