Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
THE 5TH DIMENSION | Live!!
Bell Records (1971)
Selected by Quentin Harrison
The 5th Dimension, a black-pop vocal quintet comprised of Lamont McLemore, Florence LaRue, Billy Davis Jr., Ron Townson and Marilyn McCoo, have rarely received their just due for uncannily blurring the color lines in popular music. Nearly second to none, from 1968 up to 1971, their albums masterfully functioned as staging grounds for majestic hybrids of gospel, soul, pop, and jazz.
And so, Live!! sought to display that those abilities worked on a stage as well as they did in the recording studio. All of their hits—and those of a few other peers of the period—join together in rapturous unity on the LP when sung by The 5th Dimension. Those legendary, air tight harmonies are paced perfectly against a full orchestra and band backdrop. Live!! is also peppered with some of the group's lovable banter that grants insight into the group's interpersonal dynamic as well.
Live!! can be counted as one of the few live albums that actually makes one feel as if they're in the room with the artist that is performing—a rare feat.