60’s Band of the Week #4: The Fifth Dimension

1 Jul

Due to an increasingly busy schedule I have not been able to get to the 60’s band of the week for a while. Yet, I got some time now and I thought I would focus today on a band that most people today may know because of the prevalence of their music in commercials and television shows. They combined pop and soul with jazz and R&B and over an established career have had over 25 members. They were too good for our third dimension and got tired of the fourth dimension. They are, of course, the original five of The Fifth Dimension

Now in 5D!!!

Now in 5D!!!

Band: The Fifth Dimension

Origin: Los Angeles, California

Genre: Soul and R&B mixed with Pop elements

Founded: 1966 – present (original members up to 1975)

Original Line-up:

–         Billy Davis Jr

–         Florence LaRue

–         Marilyn McCoo

–         Lamonte McLemore

–         Ron Townson

Name: The Fifth Dimension was an update on the name and image of a group named The Versatiles which included the members of The Fifth Dimension. I assume it played on the fact that there are five members in the band but that is only an intelligent guess

History: The history of The Fifth Dimension is quite similar to most histories of vocal groups. A bunch of singers start singing and other singers join. Now we can leave it at that and the history of this group will be a few sentences but I believe it is necessary to make things a little more complex. The beginnings of The Fifth Dimension occurred in the early 60’s when Marilyn McCoo and her friend Lamonte McLemore teamed up with two friends to form The Hi-Fi’s. They worked tirelessly with a vocal coach to improve their voices and this work paid off when Ray Charles took an interest in them and had The Hi-Fi’s tour with them in 1963. Yet, internal problems caused the two friends Floyd Butler and Harry Elston to go their separate ways. Humorously they went and founded The Friends of Distinction who recorded the famous soul, “Going in Circles.” Okay that was off topic let us continue

Both McCoo and McLemore (sounds like an awkward Irish law firm) sought a new group to replace their past members. Florence Larue, a friend of theirs and a talented musician in her own right, was approached to join the group. McLemore recruited Ron Townson who was an accomplished gospel singer and McLemore’s Cousin Billy Davis Jr, also a gospel singer, joined immediately after his cousin asked him too.

So, there you have it, the band was born as The Versatiles. Johnny Rivers, the rock and roll singer, had recently started a label named Soul City Records and signed The Versatiles who changed their name to The Fifth Dimension.


Best Album:

The Fifth Dimension hit their biggest success with the release of their album The Age of Aquarius. The album included the hit from the musical hair entitled “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in. A two-part song which included two catchy hooks. The album also included “Wedding Bell Blues” and “Workin’ On A Groovy Thing” which were both popular hits in their own right. The album topped at #2 on the US top albums list.

Check out the best song in the song of the day section.

Fun Facts:

Did you Know

–         The Fifth Dimension appeared as special guests in a third season episode of “It Takes a Thief,” where a special chord they played in their song “One Less Bell To Answer,” could trigger a bomb. Is this good for their music or bad?

–         “Wedding Bell Blues” was the title of the 100th episode of The Gilmore Girls.

One Response to “60’s Band of the Week #4: The Fifth Dimension”

  1. James Medina November 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Thank you for that bio on the 5th Dimension. It was very interesting and well written to keep my interest alive. Smile.

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