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The 5th Dimension

The 5th Dimension is an American popular music vocal group, whose repertoire also includes pop, R&B, soul, and jazz. Originally known as The Hi-Fi's, the group changed its name to The 5th Dimension in late 1966 and was best-known during the late 1960s and early 1970s for popularizing the hits "Up, Up and Away", "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In", "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. Career edit: Formation edit: In the early 1960s, Lamonte McLemore and Marilyn McCoo, a former beauty pageant winner, got together with two other friends from Los Angeles, Harry Elston and Floyd Butler, to form a group called the Hi-Fis. In 1963, they sang at local clubs while taking lessons from a vocal coach. In 1964, they came to the attention of Ray Charles, who took them on tour with him the following year. He produced a single by the group, "Lonesome Mood", a jazz-type song that gained local attention. However, internal disagreements caused Butler and Elston to go their own way, eventually leading to their organizing the Friends of Distinction. Lamonte sought to form another group and started looking for members to join him and McCoo. One was Florence LaRue, who had received training as a youngster in singing, dancing, and violin, and who also won the talent portion, as McCoo had the year prior, at Miss Bronze California. About the same time she was approached to join the group, Lamonte recruited an old friend of his, Ron Townson, who at age six had started singing in choirs and gospel groups in his hometown of St. Louis. His grandmother fostered his career by arranging for private voice and acting lessons as he grew up. In his teens, he toured with Dorothy Dandridge and Nat King Cole, joined the Wings Over Jordan Gospel Singers for a while, and also played a small part in the film Porgy and Bess. He demonstrated his considerable skill as a classical artist by placing third in the Metropolitan Opera auditions held in St. Louis. After finishing high school, he worked his way through Lincoln University by conducting the school and church choir. After graduating, he organized his own 25-member gospel choir. Lamonte's cousin, Billy Davis, Jr., started singing in gospel choirs at an early age. He later saved enough money to buy a cocktail lounge in St. Louis, which he used as a base for experimenting with various musical groups. When he was asked to join his cousin's new group, he immediately said yes. Major hits edit: The members began rehearsing as the Versatiles in early 1966 and auditioned for Marc Gordon, who headed Motown's Los Angeles office. Although the group's demo tape was rejected by Motown, Gordon agreed to manage them and brought them to the attention of Johnny Rivers, who had just started his own label, Soul City Records. Their first Soul City single, "I'll Be Lovin' You Forever", was a flop. In 1965 The Mamas & the Papas' first single, lead member John Phillips' "Go Where You Wanna Go", failed to open the foursome's chart career. Undaunted, The 5th Dimension covered the same song virtually note-for-note (except for the last verse's upward modulation), and their early 1967 version climbed into the top 20 on both R&B and pop stations and peaked at #16 on the Hot 100, opening the fivesome's chart career. Budding young songwriter Jimmy Webb supplied the group with their breakthrough hit, "Up, Up and Away", a mid-1967 #7 hit that won five Grammy Awards. The following year, the group scored major hit singles with Laura Nyro's songs "Stoned Soul Picnic" (U.S. #3) and "Sweet Blindness" (U.S. #13). The group received a gold record for their album Stoned Soul Picnic. That album also included "California Soul", which peaked at #25 in February 1969. Weeks later the group's success broke wide open, with "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" from the musical Hair topping the Hot 100 in April and May, and another Nyro song, "Wedding Bell Blues," doing the same in November. Their cover of Neil Sedaka's "Workin' On A Groovy Thing" went to #20 in-between. Those four singles kept the group on the Hot 100 all but four weeks in 1969. Later top 20 hits included 1970's "One Less Bell to Answer" (U.S. #2), 1971's "Love's Lines, Angles and Rhymes" (U.S. #19) and "Never My Love" (U.S. #12), 1972's "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All" (U.S. #8) and "If I Could Reach You" (U.S. #10). The group also had seven other top 40 hits, the last being 1973's "Living Together, Growing Together" (U.S. #32) from the film Lost Horizon. TV appearances edit: The 5th Dimension performed "Sweet Blindness" on Frank Sinatra's 1968 TV special "Sinatra Does His Thing" and sang "Workin' On A Groovy Thing" and "Wedding Bell Blues" on Woody Allen's "The Woody Allen Special" in 1969. They introduced "Puppet Man" as guests in the It Takes a Thief episode "To Sing a Song of Murder" in 1970. The 5th Dimension appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show twice in 1969. The group performed and sang a medley consisting of "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" on 23 February 1969 and performed and sang "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" on 18 May 1969, the day after the medley fell from the Hot 100 summit. During the last season of The Ed Sullivan Show, Sullivan dedicated the entire February 21, 1971 episode to the fifth anniversary of The 5th Dimension. The group opened the show with "Love's Lines, Angles And Rhymes" and later joined Connie Stevens for "Puppet Man". The group came back for the last fifteen minutes of the show and sang their hits "Up, Up and Away", "One Less Bell to Answer", "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Wedding Bell Blues", and finished up with "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In". This appearance would be the group's last on Sullivan. Regrouping edit: In 1975, McCoo and Davis, who had married on 26 July 1969, left the group to do both collective and individual projects. They went on to have success as a duo with "Your Love" and the chart topper "You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)". McCoo also served a stint as the host of the TV show Solid Gold. The remaining trio carried on with new members, and nearly had a hit in 1976 with the LaRue-sung "Love Hangover"; however, Motown issued Diana Ross' original version shortly after the 5th Dimension's hit the charts, and hers soared to the top of the charts. The group signed with Motown not long after, releasing two albums in 1978. R&B singer Lou Courtney was in the group briefly in 1978 and 1979, Joyce Wright joined in 1979, and Phyllis Battle joined in 1988. Reunion and departure edit: The original quintet reunited in 1990 and 1991 for a tour. Townson briefly left the group to try a solo career, but soon returned, as the group eventually resigned itself to the nostalgia circuit. In 1995, the quintet of LaRue, Townson, McLemore, Battle, and Greg Walker recorded a new album, In the House, for Click Records. In 1998, Willie Williams replaced Townson, who died in 2001 due to diabetes-related kidney failure. Battle departed in 2002, to be replaced by Van Jewell. McLemore retired from the group in March 2006. Today edit: McCoo and Davis continue to tour separately as their own act. As of April 2009, the group is actively touring as "The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue", led by LaRue with Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker, Patrice Morris, and Floyd Smith. In October 2011 McCoo and Davis featured on the Cliff Richard album Soulicious, also appearing live on stage in the tour of the same name, reprising several of their hits as well as dueting with Sir Cliff. Honors edit: The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. The group also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, inducted on March 18, 2010. Membership edit: This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: The table is messy and doesn't meet Wiki standards. Make it a timeline and it'll be much clearer. Please help improve this article if you can. (February 2013) Marilyn McCoo (born 30 September 1943, Jersey City, New Jersey), Florence LaRue (born 4 February 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Billy Davis, Jr. (born 26 June 1938, St. Louis, Missouri), Lamonte McLemore (born 17 September 1939, St. Louis, Missouri ), Ronald L. "Ron" Townson (born 20 January 1933, St. Louis, Missouri - died 2 August 2001, of kidney failure, Las Vegas, Nevada), McCoo and Davis left the group in November 1975. Since then, other members have included: Eloise Laws (Marilyn replacement) 1975, Danny Beard (Billy replacement) 1975-1978, Marjorie Barnes (Marilyn replacement) 1976-1977, Terri Bryant (Marilyn replacement) 1978-1979, Mic Bell (Ron replacement) 1978-1979, Lou Courtney (Billy replacement) 1978-1979, Pat Bass (Marilyn replacement) 1979, Tanya Boyd (Marilyn replacement) 1979, Joyce Wright Pierce (Marilyn replacement) 1979-1986 and 1987, Michael Procter (Billy replacement) 1979-1988, Ron Townson 1979-1997, Estrelita (Marilyn replacement) 1986, Phyllis Battle (Marilyn replacement) 1988-2001, Eugene Barry-Hill (Billy replacement) 1989-1992, Greg Walker (Billy replacement) 1993-2006, Willie Williams (Ron replacement) 1998-present, Van Jewell (Marilyn replacement) 2002, 2005, Julie Delgado (Marilyn replacement) 2002-2005, Jamila Ajibade (Marilyn replacement) 2005-2006 and 2007-2008, Leonard Tucker (Billy replacement) 2006-present, Valerie Davis (Marilyn replacement) 2006-2007, Jennifer Leigh Warren (Marilyn replacement) 2007, Gwyn Foxx (Marilyn replacement) December 2007, Michael Mishaw (Lamonte replacement) 2006-2008, Patrice Morris (Marilyn replacement) 2008-present, Floyd Smith (Lamonte replacement) 2009-present, Original lineup Florence LaRue Marilyn McCoo Billy Davis, Jr. LaMonte McLemore Ron Townson 1966-75 Florence LaRue Marilyn McCoo Billy Davis, Jr. LaMonte McLemore Ron Townson 1975 Eloise Laws Danny Beard 1976-76 Marjorie Barnes 1978 Terri Bryant 1978-79 Lou Courtney Mic Bell 1979 Pat Bass/, Tanya Boyd/, Joyce Wright Pierce Michael Proctor 1980-86 Joyce Wright Pierce Ron Townson 1986 Estrelita 1987 Joyce Wright Pierce 1988 Phyllis Battle 1989-92 Eugene Barry Hill 1993-98 Greg Walker 1998-2002 Willie Williams 2002 Van Jewell 2002-05 Julie Delgado 2005 Van Jewell 2005-06 Jamila Ajibade 2006-07 Valerie Davis Leonard Tucker Michael Mishaw 2007 Jennifer Lee Warren/, Gwyn Foxx 2008 Patrice Morris 2009-present Floyd Smith

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