The Byrds

5D (Fifth Dimension)

Composed by Roger McGuinn

Song Review by

"5D (Fifth Dimension)" was the most improbable single ever issued by the Byrds and, even more so, the most daring opening track ever on any Byrds album. More challenging than the single "Eight Miles High" which preceded it -- which had a driving beat and an extrovert quality -- "5D"'s lyrics were steeped in notions of trans-dimensional existence and planes of perception beyond length, width, depth, and conventional time. The song grew out of Roger McGuinn's reading of a deeply philosophical Don Landis book entitled 1-2-3-4, More More More More, which dealt with these questions of perceptions and reality. McGuinn turned these notions into a guitar-heavy and (for the first time in the band's history) organ-based tune (the latter instrument courtesy of Van Dyke Parks), its lyric expressing wonder and exultation. The group and Columbia Records had enough confidence in the record to try it as the first single culled from the album, though it never charted -- and they had enough confidence to lead the album off with it. Given the sheer eclecticism of what followed, it was an inspired choice, telling the listener that this was a record filled with strange states of mind and visions of the world, most of the beautiful.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Fifth Dimension 1966 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:33
The Byrds' Greatest Hits 1967 Columbia / Legacy 2:33
No Image 1973 CBS Records
Original Singles, Vol. 1 (1965-1967) 1980 Columbia 2:34
Classic Rock: Rock Renaissance, Vol. 3 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:33
20 Essential Tracks from the Boxed Set: 1965-1990 1991 Columbia / Legacy 2:35
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Definitive Collection 1995 Columbia 2:35
Psychedelic Mind Trip, Vol. 2: Another Flashback 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:34
Full Flyte (1965-1970) 1998 Raven 2:35
Ultimate Byrds 1998 Legacy / Columbia 2:34
The Essential Byrds 2003 Columbia / Legacy 2:34
The Collection [Sony] 2004 Sony Music Distribution 2:35
Woodstock Generation [Sony Box] 2004
Various Artists
Columbia 2:34