The 5th Dimension were formed in 1966 from a group originally known as the Hi-Fi’s.
Ron Townson (b. 29th January 1933, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. d. 2nd August 2001, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.)
Marilyn McCoo (b. 30th September 1943, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.)
Billy Davis Jnr. (b. 26th June 1938, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.)
Florence LaRue (b. 4th February 1944, Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.A.)
Lamont McLemore (b. 17th September 1940, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.)
The original line-up of the Hi-Fi’s came together in the early Sixties.
Lamonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Harry Elston and Floyd Butler completed the line-up.
the vocals with ray charles in 1964
The Hi-Fi’s became The Vocals, and began performing locally around L.A. where they came to the attention of Ray Charles.
Ray began taking the group on tour, and later produced a single called ‘Lonesome Mood’.
Differences within the group led to Harry Elston and Floyd Butler leaving the group, later becoming part of the original members of the Friends of Distinction.
Lamonte McLemore began to look for members of a new group, recruiting Florence LaRue, and Ron Townson, who had toured with Dorothy Dandridge and Nat King Cole.
Lamonte’s cousin, Billy Davis, Jr., was then approached, and he was enlisted into the group’s ranks.
Initially going under the name of the Vocals, and later, the Versatiles, they auditioned for Motown, but were recommended to the Bronco Records imprint, where they recorded the single, ‘Bye Bye Baby' b/w 'You're Good Enough For Me’.
After signing to the Soul City imprint n 1967, the group covered the The Mamas & the Papas' song ‘Go Where You Wanna Go’ which reached the top 20 on both R&B and pop stations and peaked at number 16 on the Hot 100.
the magic garden - 1967 / up, up and away - 1967 / stoned soul picnic - 1968 / the age of aquarius - 1969
Later in 1967, their career literally ’took off’, with the release of the Jim Webb evergreen ‘Up, Up and Away’, which climbed to the number 7 chart position, later winning five Grammy Awards.
Laura Nyro provided the group with further chart success, in the shape of ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’ (U.S. number 3) and ‘Sweet Blindness’ (U.S. number 13).
The album ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’ became a gold record.
Also on the album was the Ashford & Simpson song ‘California Soul’, which reached number 25 in 1969.
The Fifth Dimension's singles success followed on a regular basis.
‘Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In’ (from the musical Hair) reached number one on the Hot 100, whilst another Laura Nyro song, ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ achieved the same feat later in the year.
Their take on Neil Sedaka's ‘Workin' On A Groovy Thing’, also peaked at number 20 that year.
portrait - 1970 / loves, lines, angles and rhymes - 1971 / individually and collectively - 1972/ living together, growing together - 1973
In 1970, they released ‘One Less Bell to Answer’ (U.S. number 2), whilst in 1971 ‘Love's Lines, Angles and Rhymes’ reached number 19 and ‘Never My Love’ also reached number 12.
1972 saw ‘(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All’ (U.S. number 8) and ‘If I Could Reach You’ (U.S. number 10).
Seven further singles charted, up until 1973, when ‘Living Together, Growing Together’ climbed to number 32).
The Fifth Dimension appeared many times on various television shows across this period, including specials by Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, Ed Sullivan and a Tom Jones U.K. Special.
soul's inspiration - 1974 / earthbound - 1975 / high on sunshine - 1978 / star dancin' - 1978
In 1975, husband and wife, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, left the group to pursue solo and dual careers.
The couple charted with the hit ‘You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)’.
The Fifth Dimension carried on their careers with a new line-up.
In 1976 they released an early version of ‘Love Hangover’, although it was the Diana Ross version, released, almost at the same time, which became the hit version.
Motown later signed the group releasing two albums in 1978.
The line-up changed with Lou Courtney joining the group in 1978 and 1979.
Joyce Wright joined in 1979, and Phyllis Battle joined in 1988.
The orginal Sixties line-up reformed in 1990 and 1991 and went on tour.
Ron Townson left the group for a short while, but soon returned.
A line-up of Florence LaRue, Ron Townson, Lamonte McLemore, Phyllis Battle, and Greg Walker recorded a new album, ‘In the House’, for Click Records.
In 1998, when Ron Townson passed away from kidney failure, he was replaced by Willie Williams.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis continue to tour separately, wilst recently, the group is touring under the name of ‘The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue’.
This line-up features Florence LaRue, Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker, Patrice Morris, and Floyd Smith.
The Fifth Dimension were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002, and also have a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, inducted in March 2010.
Up, Up And Away (Soul City Records 1967)
The Magic Garden (Soul City Records 1967)
Stoned Soul Picnic (Soul City Records 1968)
The Age Of Aquarius (Soul City Records 1969)
Fantastic (Bell Records 1970)
Portrait (Bell Records 1970)
Love's Lines, Angles And Rhymes (Bell Records 1971)
The 5th Dimension Live! (Bell Records 1971)
Individually And Collectively (Bell Records 1972)
Living Together Growing Together (Bell Records 1973)
Soul's Inspiration (Bell Records 1974)
Earthbound (ABC Records 1975)
High On Sunshine (Motown Records 1978)
Star Dancin' (Motown Records 1978)