Popular ’60s singing group the 5th Dimension performs in Ocala on Saturday
Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 1:11 p.m.
Every one of us deals with the three dimensions of height, width and depth every day.
The 5th Dimension Featuring Florence LaRue
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Circle Square Cultural Center, 8395 SW 80th St., Ocala (On Top of the World community)
Info: 854-3670 or www.
Scientists quibble about whether there’s a fourth dimension. But there’s no question about the 5th Dimension.
This ’60s quintet who gave us smooth-soul hits such as “Up, Up and Away” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” is in town Saturday night at the Circle Square Cultural Center.
“We’re excited to be in Florida,” says Florence LaRue, the only original member still with the group.
“Only it’s cold out. But it’s warm inside, and we’ll warm ’em up at our show,” she adds in a telephone interview from Flagler County.
Well, yeah, with their litany of feel-good sunshine soul hits — “Up” and “Aquarius,” ”Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” and “One Less Bell to Answer” — who wouldn’t walk away 90 minutes later feeling all warm and toasty?
“We don’t have time for new music,” LaRue says. “People come to hear all our hits.”
And, she adds, they’re happy to deliver.
In the group’s 47 years, the 5th Dimension has amassed six Grammy Awards, 14 gold records, six platinum records and a dozen hit albums.
In 2002, the 5th Dimension was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
“It’s big, sure, that they’re coming here,” says Q92.9 FM morning DJ Bill Barr, who’s somewhat of a rock-music historian locally. “They did some great music. They’re contemporaries of The Beatles.
“ ‘Aquarius’ — that’s when hippie became establishment,” he says. “As soon as you hear the first notes, it brings back all those great memories.”
“Aquarius,” from the Broadway hit “Hair,” was an anthem of the younger generation in the late 1960s; it also presaged a dawn of new thinking. By various astronomical reckonings, we’re either already in or just about to enter the Age of Aquarius.
“I was born in February, so I am an Aquarius,” LaRue says. “But I’m a very serious Christian and don’t follow astrology. Spirituality is very important to me — it keeps me grounded.”
The group’s velvety sound comes from its unique blend of voices — a “harmony that just sort of happened,” she says. “We were five members with five different voices, but it allows us to sing all types of music.”
Over the years as the 5th Dimension has replaced members, she adds, they look for similar voices to maintain the distinctive sound.
It’s probably “Up, Up and Away” that’s most associated with the 5th Dimension. According to their Vocal Group Hall of Fame biography, young songwriter Jimmy Webb attended a fair one weekend where “he saw a hot-air balloon taking off, inspiring him to write ‘Up, Up and Away.’ ”
“It’s a positive song,” LaRue says. “And not many people catch that it’s a love song. It’s very romantic and very spiritual.”
“Up” soared to No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 100, and garnered five Grammys in 1968.
“I’m really proud that our show is really family oriented,” LaRue says. “We get fans from 8 to 80. We get a lot of younger people coming with their parents thinking they’re not going to like the music, and they end up loving our show.”
But it’s “One Less Bell” that is LaRue’s personal favorite of the repertoire.
“I like songs that tell a story,” she says. “It’s just so beautiful.”
Since opening in 2006, Circle Square Cultural Center has brought in a string of big-name acts: Frank Sinatra Jr., Frankie Avalon, Melissa Manchester, Lesley Gore, B.J. Thomas, The Lovin’ Spoonful, the Smothers Brothers, the Lettermen, Willie Nelson.
Jo Salyers, marking director and general manager of Circle Square Commons, says the 5th Dimension is possibly, next to Willie Nelson, the biggest act yet “because they have such great name recognition and they’re so hugely popular.”
Contact Rick Allen at email@example.com.