The 5th Dimension is an American vocal group. Their music encompasses sunshine pop,[1] pop soul,[1] and psychedelic soul.[3]

The 5th Dimension
The 5th Dimension in 1969 Back row: Townson and McLemore. Front row: LaRue, Davis, and McCoo.
The 5th Dimension in 1969
Back row: Townson and McLemore.
Front row: LaRue, Davis, and McCoo.
Background information
Also known asThe Versatiles (1965–1966)
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
Years active1966–present
(until 1975 in original incarnation)
LabelsSoul City, Imperial, Bell, Arista, ABC, Motown, Columbia
MembersFlorence LaRue
Patrice Morris
Leonard Tucker
Floyd Smith
Sidney Jacobs
Past membersBilly Davis Jr.
Phyllis Battle
Lamonte McLemore
Ronald Townson
Greg Walker
Marilyn McCoo
See: Membership section for detailed listing

Formed as the Versatiles in late 1965, the group changed its name to "the 5th Dimension" by 1966.[4] Between 1967 and 1973 they charted with 20 top 40 hits on the Billboard 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.[5]

The five original members were Lamonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Florence LaRue, Ronald Townson, and Billy Davis Jr. Their earliest recordings were on the Soul City record label, which was started by recording artist Johnny Rivers. The group later recorded for Bell/Arista Records, ABC Records, and Motown Records.

Some of the songwriters who worked with the 5th Dimension went on to careers of their own, especially Ashford & Simpson, who wrote the song "California Soul". The group is also notable for having more success with the songs of Laura Nyro than Nyro did herself,[4] 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 including Burt Bacharach and Hal David ("One Less Bell to Answer") and Jimmy Webb, who wrote "Up, Up and Away". The group's 1967 LP The Magic Garden features all but one song composed by Webb.

The 5th Dimension's producer Bones Howe used Bob Alcivar as the singers' vocal arranger as well as instrumental backing by the Wrecking Crew for their recording sessions.





In the early 1960s, Lamonte McLemore and Marilyn McCoo got together with three friends from Los Angeles—Harry Elston, Lawrence Summers, and Fritz Baskett—to form a group called the Hi-Fis, which later became the Vocals.[6]

Major hits

The group performing in 1970

The members began rehearsing as the Versatiles in late 1965 and auditioned for Marc Gordon, who headed the Motown's Los Angeles office.[6] Berry Gordy, the head of Motown Records, declined the group, but Gordon still believed in them and wanted to manage them. Gordon brought them to the attention of Johnny Rivers, who had just started his own label, Soul City Records. Soul City signed the group and in November 1966 released their first single as the 5th Dimension, "I'll Be Lovin' You Forever". However, the song failed to chart.

In 1967 the 5th Dimension recorded "Go Where You Wanna Go," which became a breakthrough hit for them. The song was a John Phillips tune and reached No. 16 on the US Hot 100 chart.[6] The group followed this with "Up, Up and Away",[6] which reached No. 7 later that same year and went on to win five Grammy Awards. The following year, the group scored major hit singles with Laura Nyro's songs "Stoned Soul Picnic" (U.S. No. 3) and "Sweet Blindness" (U.S. No. 13).[6] The group received a gold record for their album Stoned Soul Picnic.

That album included "California Soul", which peaked at No. 25 in February 1969.[6] Weeks later the group's success broke wide open, with "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" from the musical Hair topping the Hot 100 for six straight weeks in April and May[6] and another Nyro song, "Wedding Bell Blues", doing the same for the first three full weeks in November. Their cover of Neil Sedaka's "Workin' On a Groovy Thing" went to No. 20 in between. Those four singles kept the group on the Hot 100 for all but four weeks in 1969. By some reckonings, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" was the biggest hit single for 1969.[7]

Later top 20 hits included 1970's "One Less Bell to Answer" (U.S. No. 2),[6] 1971's "Love's Lines, Angles and Rhymes" (U.S. No. 19) and "Never My Love" (U.S. No. 12), and 1972's "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All" (U.S. No. 8) and "If I Could Reach You" (U.S. No. 10). The group had seven other top 40 hits, the last being 1973's "Living Together, Growing Together" (U.S. No. 32) from the film Lost Horizon.

TV appearances


The 5th Dimension were the featured act of a July 28, 1969, CBS broadcast of highlights from the Harlem Cultural Festival, the "Black Woodstock" gathering in Mount Morris Park that drew 300,000 festival attendees over six shows. The New York Times reported the 5th Dimension show drew 60,000 alone.[8]

On August 18, 1971, their television special, The 5th Dimension Traveling Sunshine Show, first aired.[9] The group also performed in Burt Bacharach in Shangri-La, a 1973 special promoting Lost Horizon.[10]

The 5th Dimension made appearances on Soul Train, American Bandstand, The Flip Wilson Show, The Mike Douglas Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.



In 1975, McCoo and Davis, who had married on July 26, 1969, left the group to do collective and individual projects.[6] The duo had success with "Your Love" and the chart topper "You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)",[11] which won them their seventh Grammy award as well as their own television variety show, The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. show. Marilyn McCoo served a lengthy 1980s stint as the host of the TV show Solid Gold.[11]

21st century

Florence LaRue and the 5th Dimension performing a free outdoor concert in Manalapan, New Jersey in 2018

As of April 2009, the group was actively touring as "the 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue," led by LaRue, with Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker, Patrice Morris and Floyd Smith.[12]

On June 21, 2016, the 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue performed in The Villages, Florida just days after the Orlando nightclub shooting. LaRue took the opportunity to share her thoughts on the shooting: "We will not be terrorized. We know what's happening in the world, but this is a song about good health, love, peace and happiness. We still believe in those things today," she stated before the group performed "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In".[13]

In November 2017, the 5th Dimension appeared for 18 performances at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Centre in Branson, Missouri, in the Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza hosted by Jimmy Osmond.[14]



The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.[15]

They have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inducted August 9, 1991, and the St. Louis Walk of Fame, inducted on March 18, 2010.[16]



McCoo and Davis left the group in November 1975. Since then, other members have included the following:

  • Eloise Laws (McCoo replacement) 1975
  • Danny Beard (Davis replacement) 1975–1978
  • Marjorie Barnes (McCoo replacement) 1976–1977
  • Terri Bryant (McCoo replacement) 1978–1979
  • Mic Bell (Townson replacement) 1978–1979
  • Lou Courtney (Davis replacement) 1978–1979
  • Pat Bass (McCoo replacement) 1979
  • Tanya Boyd (McCoo replacement) 1979
  • Joyce Wright Pierce (McCoo replacement) 1979–1986 and 1987
  • Michael Procter (Davis replacement) 1979–1988
  • Ron Townson 1979–1997
  • Estrelita (McCoo replacement) 1986
  • Phyllis Battle (McCoo replacement) 1988–2001
  • Eugene Barry-Hill (Davis replacement) 1989–1992
  • Greg Walker (Davis replacement) 1993–2006
  • Cydney Davis (LaRue replacement) Summer of 1996
  • Willie Williams (Townson replacement) 1998–2018
  • Van Jewell (McCoo replacement) 2002, 2005
  • Julie Delgado (McCoo replacement) 2002–2005
  • Jamila Ajibade (McCoo replacement) 2005–2006 and 2007–2008
  • Leonard Tucker (Davis replacement) 2006–present
  • Valerie Davis (McCoo replacement) 2006–2007
  • Jennifer Leigh Warren (McCoo replacement) 2007
  • Gwyn Foxx (McCoo replacement) December 2007
  • Michael Mishaw (McLemore replacement) 2006–2008
  • Patrice Morris (McCoo replacement) 2008–present
  • Floyd Smith (McLemore replacement) 2009–present
  • Sidney Jacobs (William replacement) 2018-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 Procter
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 Sidney Jacobs
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




  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "The 5th Dimension Biography". AllMusic.
  2. ^ "The 5th Dimension Biography".
  3. ^ a b Staff (August 11, 2016). "The story of the 5th Dimension in five glorious songs". MeTV. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "The 5th Dimension Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  5. ^ "The 5th Dimension". Billboard. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 84/5. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  7. ^ "The Musicradio Top 100 of 1969". WABC. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  8. ^ Greene, Bryan (June 2017). "Parks and Recreation: Harlem at a Crossroads in the Summer of '69". Poverty and Race Research Action Council.
  9. ^ "It's Time to Take the 5th". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Vol. LXXXIX.
  10. ^ Terry Whittier (May 20, 2005). "THE BOOTLEG FILES: "BURT BACHARACH IN SHANGRI-LA" | Film Threat". Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 195. ISBN 0-7535-0149-X.
  12. ^ "Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension: A Brief Biography" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 30, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2009.
  13. ^ "5th Dimension's Florence LaRue charms sold-out crowds at Savannah Center". June 22, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  14. ^ Uitti, Jacob (October 5, 2021). "The 5th Dimension's Florence LaRue Talks New Memoir, Band History, and Eartha Kitt". American Songwriter. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  15. ^ "The 5th Dimension – Inductees – The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation". Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  16. ^ "St. Louis Walk of Fame – The 5th Dimension". St. Louis Walk of Fame. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  17. ^ "LaMonte McLemore". IMDb. Retrieved November 10, 2012.


  • The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock & Soul (revised edition), Irwin Stambler © 1989 St. Martin's Press, New York
  • All Music Guide to Soul (article by Steve Huey) © 2003 Backbeat Books San Francisco