You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show) – Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1) & R&B (#1); 1976

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

As members of the 5th Dimension, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. had recorded many songs together before they hit as a duo. Their first recordings after leaving the group were individual efforts, then Billy decided they should be a team of two on vinyl.

Marilyn and Billy’s first single, I Hope We Get To Love In Time, written by James Dean and John Glover, didn’t exactly burn up the charts. However, Dean and Glover’s next effort for McCoo and Davis was another story.

In 1966 Dean helped write the Motown smash What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted; a sound producer Don Davis sought to emulate for You Don’t Have To Be A Star. Davis – who’s Disco Lady master was sitting at #1 during the M&D vocal sessions – hired Motown house bassist, James Jamerson, to lay down some classic lines, and consciously built a R&B-flavored record on top of them.

For his work, Davis got his second #1 of the year, while Marilyn and Billy won a Best R&B Group Vocal Grammy for theirs.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Don Davis

Lyrics Written by:

  • James Dean
  • John Glover


  • “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)” would eventually be certified gold, selling over one million copies, and winning the couple a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1977.