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Pop/Rock - Released May 1, 1969 | Arista - Legacy

The Age of Aquarius, the 5th Dimension's fourth album, was the group's commercial peak. They had already topped the charts with their medley of two songs from the Broadway musical Hair, "The Age of Aquarius" and "Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)," a platinum single that would earn them Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Group, when they released this album. It turned out that was only the tip of the iceberg: They returned to number one with another platinum single, "Wedding Bell Blues," penned by Laura Nyro, who had given them "Stoned Soul Picnic" the year before. And the album also spawned Top 40 hits in Nyro's "Blowing Away" and Neil Sedaka's "Workin' on a Groovy Thing." The 5th Dimension were the successors to the L.A. vocal group mantle passed on by The Mamas and the Papas (they even inherited the studio band of Hal Blaine, Joe Osborne, and Larry Knechtel). They smoothed out and commercialized everything they sang, and their work had a sheen and a zest that sometimes contrasted with the original tone of the material. On Broadway, the Hair songs seemed full of hippie rebellion; here, they seemed enthusiastic and optimistic. In a conflicted time, the 5th Dimension thrived on their ability to equivocate, and this album was their triumph -- just listen to them harmonize on "Sunshine of Your Love"! © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 15, 2011 | Arista - Legacy

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Pop - Released November 30, 2006 | Arista - Legacy

The subtitle on this anthology is correct: this is truly the definitive collection of the 5th Dimension's music, including all the hits and most of the album cuts that anyone could want. The 20-bit digital mastering provides a crisp, bright audio experience, and the joyous harmonies bring back the positive side of the late-'60s/early-'70s era in which the songs were recorded. The megahits are all here: Jimmy Webb's "Up, Up and Away," Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Wedding Bell Blues," the Bacharach/David opus "One Less Bell to Answer," the beautiful "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All," and the Grammy-winning number one smash from the spring of 1969, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" from Hair. There are "not quite Top Ten" hits like "Sweet Blindness," "Go Where You Wanna Go," "California Soul," "Workin' on a Groovy Thing," "Blowing Away," "Save the Country," and "Love's Lines, Angles, and Rhymes." What a run this quintet had on the pop charts from 1967 to 1972. This two-disc set successfully makes the case for the 5th Dimension to be remembered among the finest purveyors of pop song vocal harmony in the rock era. Baby boomers will delight at the memories this collection conjures up, and will find surprises they may have forgotten or never known: "Paper Cup," "Carpet Man," "Puppet Man," "Light Sings," and the group's medley of "The Declaration/A Change Is Gonna Come/People Gotta Be Free." Listening to Up Up and Away: The Definitive Collection is a great antidote for the blues, lifting the listener up with a smile and reminding those who may have forgotten that there once was a time when it seemed that music really could bring everyone together. © Jim Newsom /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released January 27, 2004 | Arista - Legacy

The 5th Dimension were just about the most successful harmony group of the 1960s and The Ultimate 5th Dimension is easily the most comprehensive single-disc collection on the market. It documents the heyday of the group, mostly their late-'60s tenure with Johnny Rivers' Soul City label and a few tracks from their '70s stay at Bell, and it focuses on their singles -- their hit singles, that is. Each of the 20 songs here (the 21st track is a previously unreleased song, "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye") was a Top 35 hit or better. "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In" and "Wedding Bell Blues" were their number one smashes; they also had four more Top Ten hits. Even more importantly, they had so many great songs. Their sunny harmonies and lush arrangements gave songs like Laura Nyro's "Sweet Blindness," Jimmy Webb's "Paper Cup," and Neil Sedaka's "Workin' on a Groovy Thing" a light, happy feel that makes them the very definition of "good-time oldies." The disc features liner notes with new interviews with original members of the 5th Dimension, rare photos, and improved sound and is compiled by the group's producer, Bones Howe. This collection is a perfect introduction to the group and should be on every pop music fan's wish list. Even if you already have all their first five albums (which Buddha so graciously reissued before going belly-up and BMG Heritage has kept in print), you will want this disc, since it distills their career into about an hour or so of pure, heavenly gold. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released May 1, 1967 | Arista - Legacy

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Pop - Released July 27, 1999 | Arista - Legacy

Arista celebrated its 30th anniversary by releasing The Heritage Series, spotlighting the most popular artists on the label. The Fifth Dimension installment in The Heritage Series is pretty much a straight hits collection -- the first such assembled on the pop-soul group. While they were at Arista, the Fifth Dimension had such hits as "Up Up & Away," "Go Where You Wanna Go," "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," and "Wedding Bell Blues." All those songs are here, along with some highlights from their albums, providing a nice retrospective of their time with Arista. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released August 1, 1968 | Arista - Legacy

One of the 5th Dimension's finest all-around albums, Stoned Soul Picnic is not only home to the title track, but also to the hits "Sweet Blindness" and "California Soul." All three of these songs provide excellent examples of the band's sunny and buoyant appeal. Although the singers' awesome vocal gifts deserve all the credit they get, it's also important to realize the immense contributions from producer Bones Howe and vocal arranger Bob Alcivar. The group was far more than a black version of the Mamas & the Papas. There are also some excellent album cuts here, such as Jeffrey Comanor's "It'll Never Be the Same Again," where Billy Davis, Jr.'s exquisite soul pipes get off an amazing solo around an excellent Motown-styled arrangement. If you're going to pick up one 5th Dimension album (aside from a greatest hits package), you won't find a better one than this. © Matthew Greenwald /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released April 1, 1970 | Arista - Legacy

Along with Stoned Soul Picnic, this may very well be the 5th Dimension's finest album. Home to one of their finest singles ever -- the Bacharach/David "One Less Bell to Answer," on which Marilyn McCoo gives the vocal performance of her career -- the record also contains the surprisingly funky and rocking "Puppet Man." Some great covers also include Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright," Jimmy Webb's gorgeous "This Is Your Life," and Laura Nyro's anthemic "Save the Country." This vibe is echoed by the album's centerpiece, a medley of "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "People Gotta Be Free" preceded by "The Declaration." It's an ambitious suite, yet one that works well; it provides a great marriage between the group's pop leanings and the counterculture of the late '60s. Progressive, yet still encapsulating, which is the 5th Dimension's sunny appeal, Portrait is a minor masterpiece. Famed expressionist artist Leroy Neiman's appropriate cover and liner paintings are the icing on the cake. © Matthew Greenwald /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released December 1, 1967 | Arista - Legacy

This record did contain the small hits "Paper Cup" and "Carpet Man," but the group, or more likely arranger/conductor Jim Webb, was probably shooting for something a bit higher than the Top 40. Aside from a misfired cover of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride," Webb wrote everything on this album, which -- with between-track segues, lyrics expounding dreams and possibility, and dense orchestral settings -- seemed to be aiming for a song cycle of sorts. It's not Pet Sounds, however, or even Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle. It's overambitious MOR pop-soul with mild psychedelic colors, and a bit ludicrous, though not unattractive due to the typically conscientious harmonies. "Orange Air" is probably the group's best shot at pseudo-psychedelia; "The Girls' Song," on much firmer MOR territory, was done much better by Jackie DeShannon; and "The Worst That Could Happen," Webb at his most disagreeably sentimental, was covered for a huge hit by the Brooklyn Bridge about a year later. A recent biography of cult singer/songwriter Nick Drake, by the way, revealed that this album, along with such estimable underground classics as Love's Forever Changes and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, was a special favorite of his because of its combination of rock and orchestration. That means it might suddenly become a lot harder to find in the dollar bins, although many of those copies will probably find their way right back there after Drake fans play it once or twice. [The album was also reissued by Soul City under the title The Worst That Could Happen.] © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 10, 2020 | Arista - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released February 1, 1971 | Arista - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released June 11, 1999 | Arista - Legacy

This is a scaled-down, single-disc version of Up Up and Away: The Definitive Collection, but at 16 tracks it still covers all the important ground from this beloved band, and it reveals nuances not readily apparent when the group was together. In an era of folk, blues, and soul influences, Marilyn McCoo stood out because she was a torch singer who hearkened back to Billy Eckstein and Nat King Cole, and baby boomers will be amazed at how her already potent lungs are benefited by CD technology. The group's harmonies aren't as sweet as the Mamas & the Papas, the group to whom the Fifth Dimension were most often compared, but their arrangements of songs by Jimmy Webb, Laura Nyro, Burt Bacharach, and others still pack a wallop. And if, like most folks, you know of the band solely through AM radio or your scratchy greatest-hits LP, be prepared for a hefty selection of first-rate filler material, such as "Paper Cup," "Carpet Man," "On the Beach (In the Summertime)," and "The Girl's Song." This was a group who virtually defined the "sunny side" of the '60s, and even decades later, one can't help but get goosebumps hearing the optimistic anthem "Save the Country." Was it so long ago? © Peter Kurtz /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released February 19, 1972 | Arista - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released March 1, 1973 | Arista - Legacy

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Rock - Released January 1, 1975 | Geffen

The 5th Dimension's lone album for the ABC label was also the final recording from the group's original lineup. It was a reunion with Jimmy Webb, who produced and arranged all the songs and contributed five originals, as well as the album prologue that leads into a version of George Harrison's "Be Here Now" (titled here as "Be Here How"). More a curiosity than a crucial component of the group's discography, it peaked at merely number 136 on the Billboard 200. Neither one of its singles, "Walk Your Feet in the Sunshine" and the slightly more substantial "Magic in My Life," charted at all. Bill Como's ARP synthesizer adds a unique flavor, at least in the context of the group's discography. This features an impressive assortment of session musicians, including drummers Harvey Mason and Jeff Porcaro, keyboardist David Paich, and guitarist Larry Coryell. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis bailed after a tour in support of its release. In 2014, Real Gone issued the album on compact disc for the first time. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 27, 2020 | G Records

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Pop - Released June 3, 2011 | Soul Concerts

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Pop - Released January 7, 1971 | Arista - Legacy

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Pop - Released March 10, 2009 | CW Music - EMG

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Pop - Released April 15, 2014 | Treasury Collection