Up Up and Away
This review is for my friend, Francis Grant, Jr. who contributed two poems for this blog (see them under the Poems link on the drop down menu).
The song Up Up and Away was released by the 5th Dimension in 1967 on the album of the same name. The 5th Dimension was originally made up of Billy Davis Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Lamont McLemore and Ronald Towson and that is who performed on this, their first album. Critics have called the 5th Dimension 'Sunshine Pop" or "Psychedelic Soul" which both seem to be good descriptions of the musical style. The group had numerous hits in the 1960's-70's. Both this song and album won Grammy's for song and album of the year for 1967. If you were alive in the USA during the late 60's and early 70's then you probably know several of the 5th Dimension's songs (Age of Aquarius, 1969 was their other smash hit). But just listen to Up Up and Away and you will likely feel a little better. The song is indeed "sunny" in its disposition and the imagery is simple and clear and repeated - with imagery of the sky and flying, or floating in "my beautiful balloon", up above the clouds. It seems to call one upward and away from the cares of the earth and the burdens or pains of daily life, thus it seems to me to rest upon a gospel tradition also. The song fit the late 60's where so much social change and social trauma was being experienced in the USA. Contrast Up Up and Away with Neil Young's Ohio for example and you see the seriousness and challenges of this earthly life, thus the need for some balance in our culture came from Sunshine Pop or Soul music, lifting us up up and away from all these worries and sorrows. I recall as a kid, just how light and happy this song made me feel and likewise with Age of Aquarius, how hopeful the song felt to me. What might be your memories, connections or reactions to this song?