Originally called the Versatiles, the group formed in Los Angeles, where they met Johnny Rivers. He signed them to his Soul City label and changed their name to the more modern 5th Dimension. They had a modest hit with a cover of The Mamas & The Papas’ “Go Where You Wanna Go”, which went to # 16. Then they met Jimmy Webb, who wrote “Up, Up and Away”. This song went to # 7, and was awarded 5 Grammy Awards. The group performed that song several times on Sullivan, once from a hot-air balloon.
On the February 23rd 1969 episode, the 5th Dimension took the stage to sing a ‘Love’ medley, and a majority of the performance was filmed through a kaleidoscope lens. In modern terms, the “mash-up” they performed consisted of “What the World Needs Now (is Love Sweet Love)” and The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”
On May 18, 1969 they sang “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.” This medley from the Broadway rock musical Hair took them to number one, and at the end of their performance the group faded off into the sun. They also went to number one with “Wedding Bell Blues”. When they performed this on Sullivan, bride Marilyn sang “Will you marry me?” to her real-life love, Bill.
During the last season of The Ed Sullivan Show, Sullivan dedicated the entire February 21st 1971 episode to the 5th anniversary of The 5th Dimension. The group opened the show with the solemn “Loves, Lines, Angles, & 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 & Away”, “One Less Bell to Answer,” “Stoned Cold Picnic,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” and finished up with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.” Then Ed rolled out a giant cake to congratulate them on their anniversary. This would be their last appearance on Sullivan.
The 5th Dimension managed to accumulate twenty Top 40 hits, received 14 gold and 6 platinum records and 6 Grammy Awards. McCoo and Davis married and found success as a duo. LaRue continues to tour and perform as The 5th Dimension, with others filling in for Townson, who died in 2001, and McLemore, who retired in 2006.