FIFTH DIMENSON (circa 1988-90)
American popular music vocal group, whose repertoire includes pop, R&B, soul, jazz, light opera and Broadway – a melange referred to as “champagne soul”.
ISP – Inscribed Signed Photograph+two signatures on index card. This is a 8”x10” glossy Harrahs Casino Hotel publicity still (circa 1988-90) signed by thee of the original group members: Lamonte McLemore, Ronald Townson and Florence LaRue. Other signatures are Phyllis (Battle) and Greg Warner who joined later. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. have signed on a separate index card. These would make for a wonderful matted display piece.
Formed as the Versatiles in late 1965, the group changed its name to “the 5th Dimension” by 1966. Between 1967 and 1973 they charted with 19 Top 40 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100, two of which – “Up – Up and Away” (No. 7, 1967) and the 1969 number one “Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” — won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Other big hits include “Stoned Soul Picnic” (No. 3), “Wedding Bell Blues” (No. 1), “One Less Bell to Answer” (No. 2), a cover of “Never My Love” (pop No. 12/Easy Listening No. 1), “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” (No. 8) and “If I Could Reach You” (pop No. 10/Easy Listening No. 1). Three of their records reached the Top Ten of Billboard’s Rhythm & Blues/Soul chart. Five of their 19 Top 20 hits on the Easy Listening chart reached number one.
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 careers. Their first work appeared on the Soul City label, which was started by Imperial Records/United Artists Records recording artist Johnny Rivers. The group later recorded for Bell/Arista Records, ABC Records, and Motown Records.
Some of the songwriters popularized by the 5th Dimension went on to careers of their own, especially Ashford & Simpson, who wrote “California Soul”. The group is also notable for having more success with the songs of Laura Nyro than Nyro did herself, particularly with “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Sweet Blindness”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Blowin’ Away” and “Save the Country”. The group also recorded songs by well-known songwriters such as “One Less Bell to Answer”, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and the songs and music of Jimmy Webb, who wrote their hit “Up – Up and Away”. The group’s 1967 LP The Magic Garden features all but one song composed by Webb.