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Up-Up and Away by The 5th Dimension

Album: Up-Up and AwayReleased: 1967Charted:
7
  • Jimmy Webb wrote this song. He was a prolific songwriter who wrote "MacArthur Park," as well as many of Glen Campbell's hits. In our interview with Jimmy Webb, he said of recording this song, "It was the greatest experience of my life in a way, because it was the first time I had been really set free. I had been working in the studio with Johnny Rivers and Mark Gordon co-producing, and I was just kind of a gopher. I went around and did everything. I did rhythm parts for my songs. But I had a good friend in Marty Paich, and he was teaching me the basics - I guess you would say the fundamentals of orchestration. And finally when we got in to do (second album) Magic Garden with Bones Howe that was the first album that I was ever given complete freedom to do my own orchestration. And it turned out great."
  • Webb was inspired by a balloon that his friend William F. Williams flew on promotions for radio station KMEN. Both men thought the song could be used in a planned documentary, which never panned out. This song, more than any other, is associated with hot air ballooning. Learn more in Song Images.
  • This song was first released by a Los Angeles Pop group called The Sunshine Company (best known for their #36 charting "Back On The Street Again"), who included it on their 1967 debut album in a version that used the "Up, Up and Away" saying from a Superman broadcast at the end. Around this time, the song was also recorded by Linda Kaye Henning, star of the TV show Petticoat Junction, with The Sunshine Company singing backup. This version was not released until November, 2011 when it appeared on the album The Girls From Petticoat Junction. Later that year The 5th Dimension issued the song as a single, and it became their second Top 40 hit after the #16 "Go Where You Wanna Go."
  • This won 4 Grammy awards: Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, Other Pop/Rock&Roll/ Contemporary Awards or Instrumental, Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
  • Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo of The 5th Dimension got married in 1969. In 2004, they released a book called Up, Up, and Away: How We Found Love, Faith, and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World.
  • Bones Howe was the engineer on this track. Over the next few years, he produced most of their hits.
  • According to the Grammy Foundation's January 23, 2014 A Song is Born show, the tune initially met some resistance at radio, especially in Jimmy Webb's hometown of Oklahoma City, as programmers thought it was about drugs.
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Comments: 23

On June 24th 1967, the Fifth Dimension performed "Up-Up and Away" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
It was the quintet's first appearance on national television...
Between 1967 and 1976 the group had thirty Top 100 records; seven made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" for 6 weeks in 1969 and "Wedding Bells Blues" for 3 weeks in 1969...
They missed having a third #1 when "One Less Bell to Answer" peaked at #2 for 2 weeks in 1970 (the 2 weeks it was at #2, "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison was the #1 record for both those weeks).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On January 28th 1968, the 5th Dimension performed "Up-Up and Away" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
Seven months earlier on May 28th, 1967 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on July 2nd, 1967 it peaked at #7 (for 3 weeks) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
It was track one on their debut album of the same name; the album reached #8 on Billboard's Pop Album chart...
Two other songs from the album also made the Top 100; "Go Where You Wanna Go" (#16) and "Another Day, Another Heartache" (#45)...
Between 1967 and 1976 the group had thirty Top 100 records; with seven making the Top 10 and two reaching #1 ("Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" for 6 weeks in 1969 and "Wedding Bell Blues" for 3 weeks, also in 1969)...
Original group member Ron Townson passed away on August 2nd, 2001 at the young age of 68...
May he R.I.P.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Regarding the original by The Sunshine Company, I have a gut feeling that the previously unreleased until November 2011 alternate recording by the band with PETTICOAT JUNCTION star Linda Kaye Henning is the original cut. My guess is that for some unknown reason, Imperial records decided to remove Linda's vocals and use The Sunshine Company's own lead vocalists Mary Nance and Maury Manseau instead. Both are more or less variations of the same recording and both predate
The 5th Dimension's hit.
The original(?) "Sunshine" version with "Betty Jo" on lead in available on the audio CD THE GIRLS FROM PETTICOAT JUNCTION: SIXTIES SOUNDS
Christopher - Charlotte, Nc
When are you going to add that this song is cover and that it was first done by "Petticoat Junction" star Linda Kaye Henning backed by The Sunshine Company? It's true, Linda's was unreleased until November 2011. However The Sunshine Company own version was also recorded and released before The 5th Dimension. Released about a week
ahead of the fifth Dimensions version, it failed to chart. It also appeared on The Sunshine Company's
debut album "Happy Is The Sunshine Company" Linda Kaye's original was recently released on
The brand new compilation "The Girls From Petticoat Junction:Sixties Sounds.
So it wasn't originally intended for The 5th Dimension; they just had the hit with it.
Christopher - Charlotte, Nc
Well this may be just an urban legend, but supposedly Up Up And Away "originated" on Petticoat Junction! There are a handful of episodes from 1967 and '68 in which the Bradley sisters( the lineup of Linda Kaye Henning, Lori Saunders, and Meredith MacRae) perform the song, minus verse 2. The versions by The 5th Dimension,The Sunshine Company(which came BEFORE the 5th Dimensions' and The Johnny Mann singers are all supposedly covers of the "Junction original!Christopher - Charlotte, Nc
This, the Cowsills's "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things", and Spanky and Our Gang's "Lazy Day", pretty much form a trilogy of laid back, trippy middle of the road music that year.Steve - Whittier, Ca
In the film Spiderman our superhero is about to launch himself up a tall building. Before doing so he says "up up and away web." I remain unsure as to whether the last word has a second B in it but I suspect it does.Mike - Midhurst, United Kingdom
KMEN (1290), along with KFXM (590), were the premiere pop stations in the San Bernardino area for many years. According to one account, Webb became inspired by Williams' balloon, then went to a piano practice room at San Bernardino Valley College, where he was a student at the time, and composed the song. Sadly, though the college is still there, KFXM is now a conservative talk station and KMEN now broadcasts "Disney Radio."Dougee - San Bernardino, Ca
The first time I heard this song was just after midnight October 13, 1967. I believe I was DXing a Philadelphia station. I was impressed. I'd never heard the 5th Dimension before.Ekristheh - Halath, United States
The first dimension can be represented as a point in space. The second...? A line without depth or form. The third can be thought of as a cube, since it has depth of field. The fourth dimension is the flow of time. And the Fifth Dimension? Well, they got to number seven with Up-Up and Away.Robert - Houston, Tx
First time I heard this song on the radio, I thought it was a commercial for an airline or something. Fantastic song.Richard - Talladega, Al
Also Pan Am, used this beautiful song for a commercial back in the 70s.

At the end it said "At Pan Am, experience makes the difference".
Geraldine - Miami, Fl
Song was also released in England by Johnny Mann Singers.
It too was used in a commercial on TV for Nimble Bread
Chris - Preston, England
P.S....give it up there is no connection to the Cowsills.Adolph - Denver, Co
This song was written to commemorate the marriage of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. They were married in a hot air balloon. This was a Grammy Winner for the 5th DimensionAdolph - Denver, Co
In Australia, during the 1970s, TAA (Trans Australian Airlines) used this song for an advertisment. "Up, up and away, with TAA, the friendly, friendly way."Chris - Currumbin, Australia
Arthur's probably thinking about "We Can Fly' by the Cowsills. (I'm originally from Philly-so Drexel Hill wasn't far)Steve - Jamesburg, Nj
5th Dimension member, Florence LaRue, married the group's then manager, Marc Gordon, in a balloon, in the summer of 1969 to honor the success of the song.Susan - Chantilly, Va
Somehow I remembered this song as being done by the Cowsills. Anybody know if there was ever a Cowsill connection to it?Arthur - Drexel Hill, Pa
Nobody knew why then or now, but this song was once banned by a dictatorship in Asia--Malaysia, I believe.Mark - Lancaster, Oh
To Pete Down Under: This song was also used in the USA in a TV commercial for Trans World Airlines (TWA): "up, up and awaaaaa... tee duuuuble-yew aaaaa"Bobodobo - Los Angeles, Ca
"Up-Up And Away" was the first top 10 hit for The 5th Dimension, produced by Johnny Rivers on his Soul City label.Rick - San Juan, United States
the song was used for an airline company commercial in Australia, just a few of the words were changedPete - Nowra, Australia