Los Angeles, California – “Why Blackbird? Why now? It is a reflection of the truth we’re living in today. 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 to the nest of home, because of bigotry and violence… Blackbird, is dedicated to the life and humanity of every blackbird, whether living now or lost in battle.” — Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
Pop Culture Icons, multiple Grammy Award-winners, and multi-platinum selling artists Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. released on Friday, Feb. 26, the single, Blackbird from their highly anticipated first studio album in three decades, Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons (EE1/BMG), due April 30. This is an era of Renaissance for Marilyn & Billy. Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons is among iTunes top-selling presale albums on their R&B chart. The album’s first release, Silly Love Songs is followed by Blackbird. Their profile on Feb. 28’s edition of CBS Sunday Morning, two 5th Dimension’s greatest hits albums, featuring lead vocals by Marilyn & Billy, hit iTunes’ top ten. Marilyn & Billy’s appearance in Questlove’s “Summer of Soul”, has glowing reviews. The film earned Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.
Reviews for blackbirds Lennon-McCartney Icons include ABC Network News Radio, which reported, “Former 5th Dimension members Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. have released a second advance single from their forthcoming studio album, Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons, a dramatic version of The Beatles’ classic 1968 civil-rights anthem ‘Blackbird.’”
The track, which features a passionate vocal performance by McCoo, is available now as a digital download and via streaming services. A companion lyric video also premiered at McCoo and Davis’ official YouTube channel. The animated clip shows a flock of blackbirds flying across the screen in front of red roses and a list of first names of people who were killed in various violent incidents.
Legendary music critic, Roger Friedman of Showbiz411 said, “Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr Dedicate Gorgeous Cover of Beatles Song to ‘the life and humanity of every blackbird.’ Today comes their rendition of Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird,’ It’s a solo from Marilyn, and of course, it’s a knockout performance. (On the album Billy has some solos that will blow you away, too. Wait til you hear this whole album! But right now, here’s ‘Blackbird.’)”
Pop Entertainment, music authority Mark Mussari said, “The two singers seem to be gifted with bionic voices…Blackbird, reaches new heights in McCoo’s soaring reading, with a gospel arrangement…her vocal is a reminder that the singer has a three-octave range. McCoo’s plaintive vocal, infused with yearning, and the anthemic arrangement return the song to McCartney’s original intent.
“As Black artists, at our ages, we didn’t believe we’d record again, especially for a major label. It took a lot of convincing from our millennial producer, Nic Mendoza,” say, Marilyn and Billy, with success through the years as recording artists, performers, and authors, receiving 7 Grammy Awards and earning 15 gold and 3 platinum records. “We agreed, if the project honored lives. We’ve always admired the talents of Paul McCartney and John Lennon and knew, Blackbird is a Civil Rights anthem, written after the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church, which took the lives of babies – Addie, Cynthia, Carole, and Carol Denise. Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons project praises everyone fighting hatred,” adds the couple, who in their sixty-plus-year career have broken countless racial and cultural barriers.
Blackbird: Lennon-McCartneyIcons marks Marilyn & Billy’s first album with Encore Endeavor 1 (EE1), a subsidiary of kathy ireland® Worldwide (kiWW®), which has a multi-recording agreement with music giant, BMG. This project marks kiWW’s second collaboration with BMG — the first made music history after Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable took Billboard’s top spot on the album chart.
Entertainment community quotes on Marilyn & Billy’s Renaissance:
In this exclusive social media post, icon Kareem Abdul-Jabaar praised Marilyn and Billy’s Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons album with the following message.
Sam Haskell, lifelong friend, President of Magnolia Hill Productions at Warner Bros, who made television ratings history with the success of his Emmy-nominated films for NBC and Netflix programs, said, “I love Marilyn & Billy’s talent and their new music. The success of Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons is a welcome return for these great artists.”
Vanessa Williams said, “Marilyn & Billy’s new album is beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting. We’ve needed Marilyn & Billy always… and we need their genius right now.”
“Marilyn & Billy are icons and more, whose lives, artistry, and resources strengthen humanity, by ending discrimination against all, who the world seeks to marginalize,” says Kathy Ireland.
Anita Pointer, founder, and star of the Pointer Sisters said, “Marilyn & Billy are amazing. Their music inspires me as a writer and singer. Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons deserves this recognition. It’s the truth about the Black experience.”
Dolly Parton said, “I am so impressed. You look and sound fantastic. These new beautiful recordings, including the Beatles classic Blackbird, are for everyone to enjoy. So proud of you. I will always love you.”
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