Friday, December 26, 2014

The 5th Fifth Dimension Singing Up, Up, and Away (Video, Presented Without Commercial Interruption, and History)

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

The Fifth Dimension exploded onto the pop music world with this 1967 recording of Jimmy Webb’s song. The all-Negro (really, all-mulatto) group consisted of Ron Townson, Lamonte McLemore, Billy Davis Jr., Marilyn McCoo and Florence LaRue, originally called themselves The Versatiles.

This single song won five Grammys: “Best Performance By A Vocal Group, Best Contemporary Group Performance, Best Contemporary Single and Record Of The Year at the Grammy Awards. It also won, Song Of The Year, awarded to Jimmy Webb.” [The 5th Dimension, Classic]

As you can see in this performance, at the beginning, everyone was equal, but Marilyn McCoo, the statuesque beauty in this video, soon came to dominate the group with her vocal range. (McCoo and LaRue were both shapely stunners.) Somewhere, I read the claim that she was a soprano, but that’s ridiculous. McCoo may have been able to hit high notes, but her voice was deeper than a soprano, perhaps a mezzo-soprano. (Great black singers are often tougher to categorize along traditional lines.)

The Fifth Dimension’s other biggest hits include The Age of Aquarius, Wedding Bell Blues (sung by McCoo to her longtime fiancé, Davis), Stone Soul Picnic, If I Could Reach You, One Less Bell to Answer, Last Night, I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All, Day by Day.

Since LaRue now refers to herself as “The original female member of the 5th dimension,” and seems to have forgotten that McCoo (not to mention the three men) exists, we may safely assume that there is no love lost between the two beautiful ladies. LaRue has maintained the group continuously, as “Florence LaRue and the Fifth Dimension,” with changing personnel, since original members began leaving, and sometimes returning to the group in the mid-1970s. In 1990, all of the original members got together for a successful reunion tour.

According to a less self-interested biography, LaRue was the last member to join the group, after McCoo. McCoo and LaRue were consecutive winners, during the early 1960s, of L.A.’s Miss Bronze Talent Award beauty contest. Lamonte McLemore, who in addition to a singer and professional baseball player, was a successful photographer, photographed each of the singing beauty queens, and invited each in turn to join the group.

In recent years, LaRue has surrounded herself with Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker, Patrice Morris and Floyd Smith.

Group members Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. married in 1969, and became a separate act in 1975. Their big hit was “You Don’t Have to be a Star, Baby (to be in My Show).” They remain happily married to this day.

Jimmy Webb was one of the 1960s and 1970s’ most successful tunesmiths, who gave us “MacArthur Park,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” ”The Worst That Could Happen,” “Didn’t We?,” “Galveston,” and many other wonderful songs.

Uploaded on Dec 27, 2008 by mdesk.

Up, Up, and Away
By Jimmy Webb

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
We could float among the stars together, you and I,
For we can fly, we can fly!

Up, up and away,
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon.

The world's a nicer place, in my beautiful balloon,
It wears a nicer face, in my beautiful balloon,
We can sing a song, and sail along the silver sky,
For we can fly, we can fly!

Up, up and away,
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon.

Suspended under a twilight canopy,
We'll search the clouds for a star to guide us,
If by some chance you find yourself loving me,
We'll find a cloud to hide us,
We'll keep the moon beside us.

Love is waiting there, in my beautiful balloon,
Way up in the air, in my beautiful balloon,
If you'll hold my hand, we'll chase your dream across the sky,
For we can fly, we can fly!

Up, up and away,
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon,
Up, up, and away.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great year for music....1967.