On May 19, PPB President Allan Perris presented the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award to seven- time Grammy Award winners Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., two of America’s greatest recording artists.
As the original lead singers of the legendary vocal group The 5th Dimension, these prolific singers recorded such hits as “Up, Up and Away,” "One Less Bell to Answer," "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" and many others. They've earned seven Grammy Awards, plus 15 Gold and three Platinum albums.
The two met in 1966 when Billy established The 5th Dimension, and the group recorded their first big hit, “Up, Up and Away,” written by Jimmy Webb, in 1967. The song won four 1968 Grammy Awards and was the title track to their first LP. The medley of “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In” from the musical “Hair” reached number 1 on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart in April to May of 1969, and won the Grammy for “Record of the Year.”
Marilyn McCoo was well-known in the 1980s as host of the popular music countdown TV show “Solid Gold.” She and Billy have been married since 1969. The couple shared their story of love and faith in the 2004 book, “Up, Up and Away.”
In 1975, McCoo and Davis left The 5th Dimension and began performing as a duo. Landing a contract with ABC Records, they recorded their 1976 debut album “I Hope We Get to Love in Time.” Other albums followed, each receiving public acclaim.
After leaving The 5th Dimension in 1975, Marilyn and Billy recorded "You Don't Have to be a Star (to be in My Show)," a chart topping number 1 record, winning them their 7th Grammy Award and a television series on CBS, the first African-American couple to have their own network TV variety show. They are named by Billboard, "The First Couple of Pop and Soul." This year Marilyn and Billy will celebrate their 48th Anniversary.
Pictured Below are luncheon dais members. Front Row, left to right: Lou Gossett, Jr.; Florence LaRue; Marilyn McCoo; Billy Davis, Jr. and Joan van Ark.
Back Row, left to right: PPB President Alan Perris; Kathy Ireland; Harry Elston; Pat Boone and Wink Martindale. (Dais photo by Roxanne Schorbach)