ARTIST: The Fifth Dimension
TITLE: The Essential Fifth Dimension
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 20: Go Where You Wanna Go (#16 US), Up, Up and Away (#7 US), Stoned Soul Picnic (#3 US, #2 R&B), Sweet Blindness (#13 US, #45 R&B), Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine In (#1 US, #6 R&B, #11 UK), Working on a Groovy Thing (#20 US, #15 UK), Wedding Bell Blues (#1 US, #23 R&B, #16 UK), One Less Bell to Answer (#2 US, #4 R&B), Loves Lines, Angles & Rhymes (#19 US), Never My Love (#12 US, #45 R&B), (Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All (#8 US, #28 R&B), If I Could Reach You (#10 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They did cover a lot of songs by songwriters you may have heard from others.
LINEUP: Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr., Lamonte McLemore, Ron Townson
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Smooth sounding vocal group that took songs from hip songwriters and through their vocals and production by Bones Howe made them palatable for Middle America.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Supper Club Soul” may have been a pejorative, but it aptly describes the Fifth Dimension, and that’s not a bad thing. They sang songs by Laura Nyro, Jimmy Webb, John Phillips and others and not only got them on the air, but made them big smashes. Hair, the Musical, was controversial but the Fifth Dimension’s cover of the “Aquarius” made the songs part of the American vernacular.
The lyrics of the songs at times belied the arrangements. I don’t think anyone of my mother’s generation knew what the hell “Stoned Soul Picnic” was. At times they did show a bit of political backbone, when they married the “Declaration of Independence” to Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”.
Over time, the group fell out of favor, not because they were squares, but their type of music and arrangements became dated, and their records sold less and less. You know some of these songs, though, and nothing really is different from those arrangements.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their first big hit, “Go Where You Wanna Go” was a note-for-note copy of the Mama’s and the Papas’ except for the modulation at the end.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: This is probably the perfect size of comp for them – all of the hits and some deep cuts with the same goodness.