Marilyn McCoo (1943- ) is an American singer of pop, R&B and gospel who has won eight Grammys, more than either Beyonce or Whitney Houston, even though she is not nearly so famous. For most of the 1980s she was the host of “Solid Gold” on American television, a show that counted down the top ten songs of the week with dancers.
She has had plenty of top ten American hits of her own, both as the lead female singer of the 5th Dimension from 1965 to 1975 and with her husband Billy Davis, Jr afterwards:
- 1967: Up, Up and Away
- 1968; Stone Soul Picnic
- 1969: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In
- 1969: Wedding Bell Blues
- 1970: One Less Bell To Answer
- 1972: (Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All
- 1972: If I Could Reach You
- 1976: You Don’t Have to be a Star (To Be in My Show)
Only “Stone Soul Picnic” did better on the American R&B charts than it did on the pop charts. Only “Wedding Bell Blues” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” charted at all in Britain.
Two songs won a Grammy for Record of the Year: “Up, Up and Away” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”.
In 1978 she sang “Saving All My Love For You”, seven years before Whitney Houston made it a hit.
In 1991 she came out with a gospel album.
I mainly knew her as the host for “Solid Gold”. I had no idea she did so many songs till I was on YouTube the other night. I just knew of “You Don’t Have to be a Star”. The others I have heard on Lite FM radio but she sounded like a white woman on most of them, so I had no idea it was her.
I also had this sense that she was a beauty queen earlier in her life. As it turns out she won Miss Bronze California in 1962 and was once the Jet Beauty of the Week!
The man who took her picture for Jet was Lamonte McLemore. He was part of the Hi-Fi’s and asked her to join. They would go on to open for Ray Charles but then broke up in 1965. McLemore and McCoo then joined the Versatiles, which changed their name to the 5th Dimension.
One of the singers was Billy Davis. At first they were just friends, they felt no instant physical attraction for each other (she is tall, he is short). But they grew to love each other and got married in 1969, shortly after “Wedding Bell Blues” came out in which she sang, “C’mon and marry me, Bill”.
They are still together, now married for almost 40 years! In the entertainment industry that must be some kind of record. She says the main thing in marriage is listening and respect.
She started getting into television in 1977. That summer she and her husband had a variety show. She also played Tamara Price on “Days of our Lives” in 1986 and made guest appearances on other shows, but “Solid Gold” was her big thing. She has also been on Broadway, a long-time dream of hers.