K-Chuck Radio: One Less (dumb) Bell to Answer

Jason Johnson is a very smart man.  He’s a political commentator on MSNBC and is very well respected.

Which makes me wonder where his brain was when he tweeted this out.

He never heard of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.?

WHAT?

BLASPHEMY, I SAY!!

How could you NEVER hear of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.??

This was their jam back in 1977!!

The song went all the way to #1, for crying out loud.  It got them their own television show.

And if you didn’t know of them from that one song, and you thought, “oh, they must be some lucky one-hit wonder,” then, dude, let me introduce you to this little group they were in BEFORE their Grammy-winning duet.

This little group called … the 5th Dimension.

These guys could take anybody’s song and make it sound just totally incredible.  Five-part harmony, mixtures of jazz, gospel and sunshine pop.

I would argue, in fact, that more people associate this group with the song “Aquarius” than would associate it with the Broadway musical it came from.

I may have been a tiny kid back in the day, but I certainly knew of the 5th Dimension, especially their song “Up-Up and Away,” which never failed to make people smile.

And if you notice this performance of “Wedding Bell Blues,” you can hear lead singer Marilyn McCoo singing directly to Billy Davis, Jr.  That’s the “Bill” referenced in the song, don’tcha know.

And if you’re looking for a song to play over and over when you’re in an armor-plated heart mood – when you got dumped and all you want to do is be morose – then you can NOT go without “One Less Bell to Answer.”

And yes, they had a short summer variety show, and it was quite good in and of itself.  It was not unusual for artists to have their own TV show for the summer; Manhattan Transfer and the Starland Vocal Band did; so did Glenn Campbell and Tony Orlando & Dawn, while both of those summer shows eventually became long-running programs of their own.

But, man … only knowing Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. because they may have gotten spoofed on a sketch comedy show?  Seriously, man?

Next thing you’re going to tell me is that you never heard of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.  Or of the O’Jay’s.  Or of the Intruders.  Or of the Trammps.

Best way we can settle this.  Go find someone who still has a stack of albums and a turntable.  Ask them to play the good stuff.  And if you see any records that have a label that says Motown or Stax or Philadelphia International … that’s considered “the good stuff.”  And go from there.

Geez, not knowing who the 5th Dimension are…

I’m telling you, youth is wasted on the young.