Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., are iconic artists, who became famous as the founding stars and lead voices of the legendary group, The Original 5th Dimension, where the pairing of Marilyn & Billy launched the genre Champagne Soul and Pop music, including “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Worst That Could Happen,” “Change Is Gonna Come,” the classic, “Don’t Cha Hear Me Callin’ To Ya,” all led by Billy, “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Love’s Lines, Angles & Rhymes” “One Less Bell (to Answer),” “Last Night (I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All),” all led by Marilyn, as well as their contributions to every Original 5th Dimension hit, including: “Up, Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Go Where You Wanna Go,” “Workin’ On A Groovy Thing,” “Puppet Man,” “Sweet Blindness,” and “California Soul.”
After leaving The Original 5th Dimension, Marilyn & Billy recorded “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show),” a chart-topping #1 record, which won them their 7th Grammy Award and a network television variety show on CBS. “The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Show” made TV history, with the couple being the first, and to date only, African-American married couple to have their own television series.
The couple continues to enjoy tremendous success through the years as recording artists, performers and authors. In addition to their 7 Grammy Awards, they have earned 15 Gold and 3 Platinum Records.
Fans of the timeless couple, who actively tour in the Broadway-bound “Up, Up & Away! A Musical Fable” executive produced by Kathy Ireland, and perform live at events and concerts all over the country, were in for a treat, when Marilyn & Billy released their first studio album in three decades, “blackbird: Lennon- McCartney Icons,” on EE1, a kathy ireland® Worldwide subsidiary, distributed by BMG, the world’s 7th-largest music company, in Spring of 2021. Since it became available for purchase, “blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons” has hit the top spot on the iTunes R&B pre-order, Barnes & Noble all bestselling music charts, and returned Marilyn & Billy to the Top 40s of Billboard for the first time in over 35 years.
On release day, the album hit #1 on the Current Album Chart, receiving critical acclaim from reviewers and pop culture and music icons alike. “blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons,” produced by Nic Mendoza, and executive produced by Kathy Ireland, Jon Carrasco, Stephen Roseberry and Steve Rosenblum, continues the couple’s decades long activism for civil rights and social justice, with the couple stating, “This album is a tribute to the blackbirds whose lives ended tragically by violence, and those who sacrificed their all in the name of social justice.”
“‘blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons’ is the only human rights and freedom, including religious freedom, recording project in 2021. Everyone involved in this project is honored to support Marilyn & Billy’s ‘bionic vocals’ and ageless, tireless commitment to what Lynn Whitfield calls ‘art through activism,’” said Kathy Ireland.
The music became an internet and media sensation, garnering praise from Questlove, Ms. Whitfield, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Vanessa Williams, Clive Davis, Shemar Moore, Dolly Parton, Anita Baker, The Pointer Sisters star Anita Pointer, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Elle Macpherson, as well as Original 5th Dimension Florence LaRue and Lamonte McLemore.
The album’s powerful message and success lead to numerous accolades, with the Social Justice Learning Institute adopting the single blackbird as its Summer of Equity anthem, and a special recognition from National Congress of Black Women Inc.
Marilyn & Billy, who earlier this year were named among the Top Ten Artists in 2021 by Music Observer, were recently celebrated by the DNC with the JFK Profile in Courage Award for their lifelong activism. Continuing to break barriers, Marilyn & Billy became the first African-American couple to receive a second honor on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, on Marilyn’s 78 th birthday, Kathy Ireland, Chair & CEO of the recording and multimedia production entity announced that Marilyn & Billy will record additional albums for EE1 BMG. The landmark announcement is historic, as Marilyn & Billy are the most mature married couple to ever receive a long-term recording contract.
Produced by Nic Mendoza, Co-Founder of EE1, Vice President of kathy ireland® Worldwide and CEO of Uprise LLC. Executive Producers include Kathleen Marie Ireland, Chair and CEO,
kathy ireland® Worldwide, Jon Carrasco, Worldwide Creative Director and EVP,
kathy ireland® Worldwide, Stephen Roseberry, President and CMO, kathy ireland® Worldwide, Board Member, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Steve Rosenblum, long time Manager of Marilyn & Billy and EVP Partner Relations, kathy ireland® Worldwide.
This Summer, Marilyn & Billy starred in Questlove’s directorial debut, “Summer of Soul (…Or, when the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” a documentary on the Harlem Cultural Festival which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award and breaking festival records.
This Christmas season, Marilyn & Billy make a special guest appearance in “The Waltons’ Homecoming,” executive produced by Emmy-winning luminary and former Chairman of the Academy of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Selection Committee, Sam Haskell of Magnolia Hill Productions at Warner Bros., on The CW network. The couple also lent their talents to the accompanying “The Waltons’ Homecoming” Christmas album for Warner Bros.’ imprint, Watertower Records. Marilyn & Billy’s vocals were produced by Nic Mendoza.
Marilyn & Billy’s television credits are inclusive of every decade from 1960 when they performed on the Ed Sullivan Show to their recent appearance on the daytime drama, Days of Our Lives. Their Television presence includes Solid Gold, Sonny & Cher, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams Show, Dolly Parton & Friends, Ed Sullivan Specials, as well as “Love Boat,” “Jamie Foxx Show,” “Night Court,” “It Takes a Thief,” “The Fall Guy,” and “Punky Brewster” to name a few.
Marilyn & Billy, who celebrated their 52nd anniversary this past July (2021), are the authors of “Up, Up and Away, How We Found Love, Faith and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World.” The book details how they weathered opposite backgrounds, alcoholism, and the glamorous lifestyle and serves as an inspiration to fans and married couples alike. Their recent projects also include the 25th Anniversary Tour of the Colors of Christmas, with Peabo Bryson, Ruben Studdard and Jody Watley; the Mister Rogers Tribute Album with Sandy Patti, Lee Greenwood, Vanessa Williams, and Jon Secada, “Thank you Mister Rogers,” which won a Parents’ Choice Award this past November; and performing at the Celebration of the Music of Jimmy Webb at Carnegie Hall.
Marilyn & Billy are scheduled to return to Las Vegas where they have headlined for the past five years. Additional tour dates around the world to be announced soon. Marilyn & Billy reside in Beverly Hills, CA. They are both avid tennis fans, and can be seen regularly at the BNP Paribas tournament in Indian Wells, CA.