Friday, September 9, 2016

The 2015/1967 Countdown - 09/09/2016 Update

Today, we turn once again to our 1967's Super Spectacular Singles Superstars mix, and listen to the song that owned awards season that year, Up, Up, And Away, the breakout hit for the LA-forged vocal quintet The Fifth Dimension.

The poppiest soul act of their era and definitely among the most camera friendly (both original female members, Marilyn McCoo and Florence LaRue, were ex-beauty contest winners), their songs were often closer in dynamics to the sound of West Coast Sunshine acts like the Beach Boys, The Mamas And Papas, and The Association than anything happening in the soul world at the time.

Formed in 1965, they floundered for a couple of years until they were signed by Soul City label founder Johnny Rivers, who then paired them with budding songwriter Jimmy Webb, who would pen Up, Up, And Away and a significant portion of the band's material over the next few years.

And Up, Up, And Away didn't just do well on the charts (peaking at #7 in the weeklies and #47 on Billboards year-end Hot 100).  It also went on to dominate the 1968 Grammies, taking home both the Song and Record of the Year awards, as well as also winning in several lesser categories.

In hindsight, given all the remarkable music produced in 1967, those awards speak more to the never-ending cluelessness of the Grammy Awards than to the greatness of the song, but I'm sure at that moment it was a tasty bit of professional revenge for an act that had once been rejected by Motown's Berry Gordy.

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