SoulTracks 3 Minute Update: Catch up with The 5th Dimension

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    3 Minute Update is the newest SoulTracks feature. It is designed to give classic soul fans a chance to catch up with what’s going on with their favorite soul music artists of the 60s, 70s and 80s. All in three minutes. Our latest in the series is a 3 minute update on The 5th Dimension, and it is special treat that it was written for us by the group's biographer, Robert-Allan Arno.

    3 Minute Update is the newest SoulTracks feature. It is designed to give classic soul fans a chance to catch up with what’s going on with their favorite soul music artists of the 60s, 70s and 80s. All in three minutes. Our latest in the series is a 3 minute update on The 5th Dimension, and it is special treat that it was written for us by the group's biographer, Robert-Allan Arno.

    “Success is something that comes naturally to The 5th Dimension.” Those were the magical words used to open The Original 5th Dimension’s biography that accompanied many an early press kit and today, in 2022, over 50 years later, that phrase still holds true. The 6-time Grammy award winning legendary group, whose mélange of Pop, R & B, Gospel, Broadway, Torch and even Light Opera was coined as “Champagne Soul” and brought timeless hits like “Up-Up and Away,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” and “One Less Bell to Answer,” has had some banner achievements for its original members in the past year -- some may call it a resurgence.

    That would be the married couple and original lead singers of the group (who departed after 10 years in ‘75), Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. And also, original member Florence LaRue along with The current 5th Dimension (Patrice Morris, Leonard Tucker, Floyd Smith Armstrong and Sidney Jacobs) who continue to tour to sold-out crowds as The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue. Not to mention original (now retired) member LaMonte McLemore who states assuredly, “Really, The 5th Dimension is forever.

    Let’s break it down: Today’s Oscar-nominated docu-movie “Summer of Soul” featured two of the quintet’s high-octane performances—including The 5th Dimension’s #1 medley of the time, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In—on the historic stage of the Harlem Cultural Festival, summer of ’69. Unearthed by producer Questlove and with a special contemporary Q & A appearance by McCoo & Davis, the film as Florence LaRue observes, “Is so wonderful, seeing all these Black performers…some young people, they don’t know that music, it’s great to be part of that history. And to know artists like Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight are still performing today, just as we are!” Ms. LaRue released her inspirational life & style book the summer of ’21 titled Grace in Your Second Act: A Guide to Aging Gracefully.

    In 2021, McCoo & Davis released their first big-label album in over 30 years, Blackbird: Lennon/McCartney Icons described as having a “Civil and Human Rights theme” and critically acclaimed for the twosome’s inimitable take on classic John Lennon and Paul McCartney tunes. Dubbed “the First Couple of Pop & Soul,” and married for 52 years, Marilyn & Billy guest-starred in “The Waltons: Homecoming” TV special for Christmas season ’21 and will receive their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in ’22. McCoo & Davis perform in concert, cabaret, and Las Vegas to acclaim.

    Mr. McLemore will be releasing the audio version of his popular memoir, From Hobo Flats to The 5th Dimension: A Life Fulfilled in Baseball, Photography and Music in ’22 as well as participating in projects honoring his contribution to JET magazine’s trailblazing “Beauty of the Week” feature, as its premier freelance photographer for over 5 decades, while performing with The 5th Dimension for 4 decades.

    Ms. McCoo & Mr. Davis shared during Black History Month, ‘21, “We started making music at a time where a lot of this country didn’t want to accept us simply for the color of our skin. We defied the odds…when you think about it, that wasn’t all that long ago. We pursue our passions, we celebrate the progress we’ve made, but never forget that we are always a work in progress toward a more accepting tomorrow.”

    Robert-Allan Arno, Biographer, The Original 5th Dimension

     
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