Fifth Dimension (album)

Fifth Dimension (album)

Infobox Album
Name =Fifth Dimension
Type =studio
Artist =The Byrds

Released =July 18 1966
Recorded =January 25 1966 & April 29May 25 1966
Genre =Folk rock, psychedelic rock
Length =29:59
Label =Columbia/Legacy
Producer =Allen Stanton
Reviews =* Allmusic Rating|4.5|5 [ link]
Last album ="Turn! Turn! Turn!"
This album ="Fifth Dimension"
Next album ="Younger Than Yesterday"
Misc = Singles
Name =Fifth Dimension
Type =studio
Single 1 =Eight Miles High" b/w "Why
Single 1 date =14 March 1966 (Columbia 43578)
Single 2 =5D (Fifth Dimension)" b/w "Captain Soul
Single 2 date =13 June 1966 (Columbia 43702)
Single 3 =Mr. Spaceman" b/w "What's Happening?!?!
Single 3 date =6 September 1966 (Columbia 43766)

"Fifth Dimension" is the third album by the American rock band The Byrds, which was released in the summer of 1966 on Columbia Records, catalogue item CL 2549 in mono, CS 9349 in stereo. The album stayed on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart for 28 weeks, peaking at #24; it also reached #27 in the UK. "Eight Miles High," a preceding single from March 14 and the third of the group's seminal sixties classics at 45 rpm, peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Two additional singles pulled from the album, "5D (Fifth Dimension)" and "Mr. Spaceman," peaked at #44 and #36 respectively.


"Eight Miles High," with its fusion of Coltrane-influenced attack in the guitar solo and raga structure from Indian classical music, was pivotal in transmuting folk-rock into the new form of psychedelia. Guitarist Roger McGuinn had laboriously incorporated Coltrane's modal style of playing into his guitar technique, a startling accomplishment. With or without its innovative qualities, many radio stations refused to play the record, believing the title a reference to drugs, although the lyrics in actuality pertained to an approximation of airliner cruising altitude and the group's visit to London while on tour.

Written mostly by Gene Clark, after an evening of carousing with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones in London, the song was Clark's last hurrah with the Byrds, as he left the band shortly after recording this single and its b-side, "Why," its Indian influences even more prominent. The official story on Clark's departure has always been fear of flying, although other reasons have been brought forward at various times. The band had also split from producer Terry Melcher, who had guided them through their two classic folk-rock albums of 1965, Columbia staff producer Allen Stanton being assigned in lieu of any other preference by the band for this album.

Given these truncations, the album contained four covers and two instrumentals as the rest of the band scrambled to compensate for the loss of their main songwriter. Interestingly, however, the album contained fewer covers than either of their Clark-era albums did, as well as no songs by Bob Dylan, whose songs had, along with Clark's, dominated earlier Byrds releases. With no Dylan covers and no Clark contributions beyond "Eight Miles High," McGuinn and David Crosby stepped into the breach. McGuinn penned the other two singles and Crosby initiating his penchant for abstract songs asking irresoluble questions with "What's Happening?!?!," a trait continued through his career with Crosby, Stills & Nash and on his own. The two songwriters also collaborated on the jazzy "I See You," which included another example of rather abstract lyrics. All four members are credited on the instrumental "Captain Soul," which even featured Clark returning to blast some harmonica.

As for the covers, the song "Hey Joe" would enjoy a brief vogue in versions by Love, the garage band The Leaves, and as the premiere single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The two traditional tunes, "John Riley" and "Wild Mountain Thyme" received overdubs of somewhat muddily recorded string sections, corrected to an extent with the remastered edition of 1996.

The result was a highly influential album, with the jarring raga-esque sensibilities and jazz influences very different from the band's previous output, and a testament to the rapidity with which pop music evolved in the mid-1960s.

"Fifth Dimension" was remixed and remastered at 20-bit resolution as part of the Columbia/Legacy Byrds series, reissued in an expanded form on April 30 1996, with six bonus tracks, including the b-side "Why" and the early versions of it and "Eight Miles High" recorded at RCA Victor studios on December 22 1965. The final track extends to include a hidden interview for radio stations, formatted with gaps between the answers of McGuinn and Crosby, whereby the local disc jockey would insert himself reading stock questions sent along with their pre-recorded responses.


* Jim McGuinn, 12-string guitar, vocals
* David Crosby, rhythm guitar, vocals
* Chris Hillman, bass guitar, vocals
* Michael Clarke, drums

Additional musicians

* Gene Clark, tambourine, harmonica, vocals
* Van Dyke Parks, keyboards

Track listing

#"5D (Fifth Dimension)" (McGuinn) – 2:33
#"Wild Mountain Thyme" (traditional, arranged McGuinn/Hillman/Clarke/Crosby) – 2:30
#"Mr. Spaceman" (McGuinn) – 2:09
#"I See You" (McGuinn/Crosby) – 2:38
#"What's Happening?!?!" (Crosby) – 2:35
#"I Come and Stand at Every Door" (Nazim Hikmet/traditional) – 3:03
#"Eight Miles High" (Clark/McGuinn/Crosby) – 3:34
#"Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)" (Billy Roberts) – 2:17
#"Captain Soul" (McGuinn/Hillman/Clarke/Crosby) – 2:53
#"John Riley" (Bob Gibson/Ricky Neff) – 2:57
#"2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)" (McGuinn) – 2:12

1996 CD reissue Bonus Tracks


  • "Why" [Single Version] (McGuinn/Crosby) – 2:59
    #"I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider)" (traditional, arranged McGuinn/Clark/Crosby) – 2:43
    #"Psychodrama City" (Crosby) – 3:23
    #"Eight Miles High" [Alternate RCA Version] (Clark/McGuinn/Crosby) – 3:19
    #"Why" [Alternate RCA Version] (McGuinn/Crosby) – 2:40
    #"John Riley" [Instrumental] (Gibson/Neff) – 3:08


    # "Eight Miles High" b/w "Why" (Columbia 43578) 14 March 1966 (UK #24)
    # "5D (Fifth Dimension)" b/w "Captain Soul" (Columbia 43702) 13 June 1966
    # "Mr. Spaceman" b/w "What's Happening?!?!" (Columbia 43766) 6 September 1966

    Release history


    * Fricke, David. Liner Notes, "Fifth Dimension", Columbia/Legacy CK 64847 1996.
    * Whitburn, Joel. "Top Pop Albums 1955-2001," ISBN 0-89820-147-0
    * [ 'Gene Clark:Biography'] , "". Retrieved July 232005.
    * [ link] Elliott, James I. 'Gene Clark', "Century of Country" (2004). Retrieved July 232005.

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