A Solid Gold Evening with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
A new album, the first in three decades, from music legends Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. is an event. Their new album, Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons, is not only a tribute to the songwriting talents of the two Beatles. It is a call for social justice and equality, a cause close to the couple.
McCoo and Davis won six Grammy Awards with the Fifth Dimension and a seventh as a duo, for “You Don’t Have to be a Star.” They have 15 gold and three platinum albums. They released the single, “Blackbird,” February 26, and the album quickly became one of America’s top-selling presale albums, reaching #2 on the R & B charts, according to iTunes.
McCoo and Davis, who have been married for more than 50 years, did not plan to release another studio album at this stage in their career. They made it clear that the new work had to reflect something that truly matters in the world. After the album’s release they were asked, “Why Blackbird?” and “Why Now?” “It is a reflection of the truth we are living today,” they said. “When a blackbird leaves our mother’s nest, one day, it will not return. In 2021, mothers throughout our country live in the fear that our blackbirds may prematurely not be able to return because of bigotry and violence. ‘Blackbird’ is dedicated to the life and humanity of every blackbird, whether living now or lost in battle. We always admired the talents of Paul McCartney and John Lennon and knew, what some did not, that the song ‘Blackbird’ is a Civil Rights anthem, written after the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which took the lives of four babies. In this project, each song, image, timeline and video praises everyone who dares to fight hatred.”
The album uses the title track and nine other Lennon-McCartney tunes, including “Help!” “The Long and Winding Road,” and “The Fool on the Hill” to weave the themes of social justice and equality.
The two know something about breaking barriers and fighting for what they believe. They were the first African-American couple to host a network television show, The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Show, and McCoo went on to host Solid Gold.
Any show McCoo and Davis present brings the audience back to the music that is the soundtrack of their lives. “Of course, it will include music we’re known for, songs that made it possible to still be working” McCoo said in an interview. “They were so profoundly important in our lives.”
That could include songs by Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Laura Nyro like “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Aquarius/ Let the Sun Shine In” and “Wedding Bell Blues.” There will probably be some love songs, which Davis said reflects who they are to each other. “Billy won’t get off the stage without a blues number,” McCoo said with a laugh. “He’s from St. Louis.”