Van Wezel

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis perform in Sarasota

Think of the biggest music acts of the 1960s, and you're likely to think of British Invasion bands and Motown groups.

But very few were bigger than the Fifth Dimension.

They recorded some of the biggest hits of the era, from "Up, Up and Away" to "Wedding Bell Blues," "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" and "One Less Bell to Answer." Their harmonies and their polished arrangement introduced America to some of the best up-and-coming songwriters.

The Fifth Dimension broke up decades ago, but two of that quintet's most recognizable members, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. have never stopped performing together.

They'll be in Sarasota this weekend for a Sunday night concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.

In a phone interview from Boca Raton, where they were set to perform Tuesday night, McCoo and Davis said their show here would be a mix of Fifth Dimension favorites and other songs that are likely to be familiar to the audience.

"We'll do a variety of different styles of music," Davis said. "Broadway, jazz, soul."

It's not just a random collection of songs, though.

"It's basically the music of our lives," McCoo said. "Billy was born in St. Louis, and that's the birthplace of the blues. He was in 'Blues in the Night,' so we'll be doing songs from that. I was in 'Showboat,' so I'll be singing some of those songs."

McCoo and David have had spent much more time as a duo than they did as part of the Fifth Dimension. But they're very aware, decades after the Fifth Dimension called it quits, that a lot of people still of them as part of that ground-breaking quintet. And they're fine with that.

"We know that the audience wants to hear those hits and we want to give them to them," McCoo said.

McCoo and Davis tour with a four-piece band, and since some of the band members sing they can re-create the Fifth Dimension's characteristic harmonies and vocal arrangements.

Besides being musical partners, McCoo and Davis are married in "real life."

"We've been married for 45 years," McCoo said. There was pride and maybe even a hint of astonishment in her voice when she said it.

They're pretty much together 24 hours a day, every day of the year. And they like it that way, Davis said.

And, he said, here's no big secret to the longevity of either their marriage or their career.

"We just keep doing what we do," he said. "We're friends. We still love what we do, and we love singing together, so we just keep doing it."

Details: 8 p.m. Jan. 25, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $35-$55. Information: 941-953-3368, vanwezel.org.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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