Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. offer new respect for The 5th Dimension’s ‘Earthbound’ album

October 13, 2014

Published by Mike Morsch on ctober 11, 2014

The cracks in musical cohesiveness among the members of The 5th Dimension were evident to the group’s members by the time they began work on the “Earthbound” album in 1975.

They had reunited with songwriter Jimmy Webb, who had penned the group’s first pop hit, “Up, Up and Away” in 1967. Webb was going to produce “Earthbound” and Marilyn McCoo and husband Billy Davis Jr. were both excited about working again with Webb.

But rehearsals were tense. Recording sessions were tense. At the center of the discomfort was the direction the band was heading by 1975.

Since the mid-1960s, the original five members – McCoo, Davis, Florence LaRue, Lamonte McLemore and Ron Townson – had produced a string of hits in addition to “Up, Up and Away,” including “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “One Less Bell To Answer” and “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep at All.”

But as the music of the 1970s continued to evolve, things were changing internally for The 5th Dimension.

“Part of the problem we were having inside the group was the discussion about do we continue to do the music the way we’ve been doing it and using the same formula?” said McCoo. “We saw the musical direction changing, and our music wasn’t clicking like it had before. Should we follow the market or do we stay where we are? And that was one of the conflicts that we were dealing with inside the group.”

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