The 5th Dimension is an American popular music vocal group, whose repertoire includes pop, R&B, soul, jazz, light opera and Broadway—the melange was coined as “Champagne Soul.”
Originally known as The Versatiles and formed in late 1965, according to founder, LaMonte McLemore’s currently released autobiographical memoir, the group changed its name to the hipper moniker, The 5th Dimension, by 1966 and became best-known during the late 1960s through early 1970s for popularizing the hits “Up, Up and Away”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “One Less Bell to Answer”, “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All”, and The Magic Garden LP.
The five original members were Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, LaMonte McLemore, and Ron Townson. They have recorded for several different labels over their long 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 would later record 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 covered music by well known songwriters such as the song “One Less Bell to Answer”, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and the songs and music of Jimmy Webb, who penned their hit “Up, Up and Away”, including an entire recording of Webb songs called The Magic Garden. The 5th Dimension’s famed producer, Bones Howe, utilized Bob Alcivar as the singers’ vocal arranger, as well as The Wrecking Crew, a renowned group of studio musicians including drummer Hal Blaine, for their recording sessions.