Loving You Only

The Fifth Dimension recorded the Laura Nyro song ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ on their 1969 album Age Of Aquarius.  The song charted #16 in the UK and went to #1 in the US.  The singer loves her boyfriend Bill, but she is frustrated because he has not proposed to her.  It hasn’t come to the point of “No ring, no nookie” yet, but it appears to be heading in that direction.  Around 1960, when Laura Nyro was 13, her uncle Gary (her mother Gilda’s brother) married jazz singer Helen Merrill’s sister Dorothy and because she was aware of the newspaper/tabloid scandal and all of the hot gossip that took place concerning a member of her family and this incident, she wrote this song only a few years later in 1966.

In 1958, Helen Merrill was dating a married man named Bill Carter, who was a b-film actor and at the time he was married to Nancy Wiman (Wakeman-Carter), an heiress to the John Deere fortune.  Helen Merrill and Bill co-owned a jazz club while they engaged in a very high profile and public romantic relationship.  The club was most likely funded by Mrs. Wiman-Carter’ significant John Deere inheritance money.  The affair was so serious that Mrs. Wiman-Carter had private detectives invade Helen Merrill’s apartment.  The ensuing newspaper scandal was the reason that Helen Merrill left for Europe in 1959 to reside there for many years.  Bill Carter and Nancy Wiman both passed away in 1996, after leading very separate lives.  They both re-married after the scandal caused their divorce.  Helen Merrill never got to marry Bill, who instead married pretty young actress Elaine Stewart not long after this debacle, in October 1959.  Seeing a married man was a big deal in the ‘50s, and when his wife is a wealthy heiress that just makes things worse.  The Bill Carter and Helen Merrill affair was immortalized by Laura in this song.

Whether or not there is a 5th dimension still remains in debate, but many believe it could represent an undefined or unknown dimension in space that is beyond the compression of most humans, unless they are versed in string theory.  In 1965, Lamonte McLemore, formed a singing group in Los Angeles, CA called the Versatiles that was soon renamed the 5th Dimension. The five original members were Billy Davis Jr., Florence La Rue, Marilyn McCoo, Lamonte McLemore, and Ronald Townson.  They have recorded for several labels over their long careers.  The 5th Dimension also had hits in 1968 with Nyro’s songs ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’ which went to #3 and ‘Sweet Blindness’ which reached the Top 20.  Although the Fifth Dimension were extremely popular in the late ‘60s and the early ‘70s, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has neglected to induct them, however they did win several Grammy Awards and were selected to the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo got married the same year that ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ was recorded and Florence La Rue also got married to the group’s manager Marc Gordon, in the wake of this number one song.

Bill I love you so
I always will
I look at you and see
the passion eyes of May
Oh but am I ever gonna see
my wedding day?
Oh I was on your side Bill
when you were losin’
I’d never scheme or lie Bill
There’s been no foolin’
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and in your voice I hear
a choir of carousels
Oh but am I ever gonna hear
my wedding bells?
I was the one came runnin’
when you were lonely
I haven’t lived one day
not loving you only
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and though devotion rules my heart
I take no bows
Oh but Bill you know
I wanna take my wedding vows
Come on Bill
Come on Bill
I got the wedding bell blues

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is Wedding/Marry/Diamond/Ring/Cake.

27 thoughts on “Loving You Only

  1. I was about to do this one, then figured someone else (or several someone elses) might choose it. Laura Nyro wrote it, of course, and did her own version that I like at least as much as this one (and I like this one a lot). Good pick!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John. Nyro had two other songs in the Top 10 the same week as this one, those being ‘And When I Die’ recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears coming in at #2 and and ‘Eli’s Comin’’ recorded by Three Dog Night got to #10.


      1. Off topic… I’m not sure if someone has to be invited but my cousin would be interested in the Sunday Lyric feature.

        He blogs about music and his blog is freefallin.home.blog

        It would help people know his stuff and for him to know other people. Anyway I wasn’t sure like I said if someone has to invite him or if he could just do it. He doesn’t blog everyday but usually every week.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Your cousin is welcome to join in any time. This challenge is open to anyone who likes music. Send him my link and I look forward to reading his posts. Some very different prompts are coming up in the next several weeks being a song from a movie, a song from a TV show, a song that includes somebody famous and a song that reference another group which you did with the Beatles.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is great. That would also help him get in touch with people and people with him. My first 8 months or so were empty until I finally picked up followers.
        Thanks Jim

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes this topic has worked out well. This is only the second time since I took over hosting this challenge in January that anyone has suggested a prompt. I have some very different prompts coming up in the next several weeks with a song from a movie, a song from a TV show, a song that includes somebody famous and a song that reference another group. I am not sure how this will work out, but I hope it is fun.

      Liked by 1 person

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