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Florence LaRue

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Information about Florence LaRue

Profile image of Florence LaRue

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Red
Favorite Food:
French Food, Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Fontainebleau
Favorite Quote:
God Is Good.

Birthplace

Born:
2/4/1942
Birth Location:
Plainfield, New Jersey

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Red
Favorite Food:
French Food, Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France, Fontainebleau
Favorite Quote:
God Is Good.

Birthplace

Born:
2/4/1942
Birth Location:
Plainfield
See how Florence LaRue is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer Florence LaRue was born on February 4, 1942 in Plainfield, New Jersey to Sara Dell LaRue and James Harris LaRue. Her family soon moved to Glenside, Pennsylvania, where she began studying dance and violin. The family moved once more to Los Angeles, California where eventually LaRue earned her A.A. degree from Los Angeles City College, and then received her B.A. degree in education from California State College in Los Angeles.

During the mid-1960s, LaRue met photographer Lamont McLemore after she won Miss Grand Talent after participating in the Miss Bronze California Contest. Lamont offered LaRue a place in a musical group that he was forming called the Versatiles. LaRue joined the group along with McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis and Ron Townson. The Versatiles obtained a record deal with the assistance of Motown record producer Marc Gordon, who introduced them to producer Johnny Rivers, and helped develop their image and changed their name to The Fifth Dimension. In 1966, The Fifth Dimension released their first single, “I’ll Be Lovin’ You Forever.” In 1967, the group recorded a follow-up single, written by John Phillips and entitled “Go Where You Wanna Go,” which charted at #16 on the Billboard charts. They then recorded their first top ten hit, entitled “Up-Up and Away,” written by songwriter Jimmy Webb. Their album of the same title went gold, and the group was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The song, “Up-Up and Away,” went on to win a number of Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for 1967. The following year, The Fifth Dimension released a cover of Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic,” which reached #3 on the pop charts and #2 on the R&B charts, the highest-charting single released by them at the time. It ultimately sold over two million copies. In 1969, the group released “California Soul,” which reached #25 on the Billboard charts. Their biggest break came with the release of “Age of Aquarius.” This song spent six weeks on top of the charts and sold more than three million copies. In 1970, The Fifth Dimension were signed to Bell Records and released a controversial single entitled “The Declaration,” which was followed by the album Portrait, which became the group’s third album on the Billboard Top 50. In 1971, the group released Love’s Lines, Angles & Rhymes, which went gold. In 1973, the group released Living Together, Growing Together and in 1974, released Soul & Inspiration, the last record the group would record for Bell Records. In 1975, the group released their final album with all of the original members, entitled Earthbound. McCoo and Davis left the group to pursue their own recording careers, although the group continued to record as The Fifth Dimension without the duo.

In the late 1970s, The Fifth Dimension released “Love Hangover” with LaRue singing lead. In 1981, LaRue joined other members from the group in Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin. In 1995, The Fifth Dimension released an album entitled In The House which featured “Say (U Love Me),” a track penned by LaRue. LaRue remains active today as an inspirational speaker and lecturer.

Florence LaRue was interviewed by The HistoryMakers April 16, 2007.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Florence LaRue's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue describes when and where her parents were born
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about her parents' divorce and her father's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue talks about reconnecting with her father as an adult
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue describes her mother and maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue describes living with Mr. and Mrs. Anderson in Ambler, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue talks about her childhood in Glenside, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue describes her interests at Abington High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue describes her experience at North Hills Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about playing sports and violin at Glenside-Weldon Junior High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue describes her experience at Abington High School in Abington, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue describes applying for jobs in Los Angeles, California while attending college in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue recalls falling asleep while driving and receiving her B.A. degree in education from California State College in Los Angeles
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about winning Miss Bronze California and other beauty pageants while working as a student teacher at Grant Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Florence LaRue remembers joining The Versitiles and her relationship with their manager, Marc Gordon
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue describes the formation and naming of The Fifth Dimension
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue talks about the release of "Up, Up and Away" and her first national tour with the Fifth Dimension
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue recalls her marriage to The Fifth Dimension manager Marc Gordon around 1968
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue describes her Fifth Dimension bandmate Ron Townson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue describes her Fifth Dimension bandmate, HistoryMaker Billy Davis, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue describes her Fifth Dimension bandmate, HistoryMaker Marilyn McCoo
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue describes the Fifth Dimension conductor and arranger, Rene DeKnight
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about The Fifth Dimensions' popular songs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Florence LaRue talks about the lineup of The Fifth Dimension in 2007
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Florence LaRue talks about her experience in The Fifth Dimension after the departure of HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue remembers HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. leaving The Fifth Dimension, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue remembers HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. leaving The Fifth Dimension, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue reflects on the success of The Fifth Dimension and its lineup after the departure of HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about her role as leader of The Fifth Dimension after the original lineup and their reunion tour
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue talks about her mother
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue talks about her family and her divorce from Marc Gordon
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue talks about changes in management in The Fifth Dimension and performing in the play Ain't Misbehavin'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about singing at the White House and in Eastern Europe
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Florence LaRue talks about her church's mission trip to Gambia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Florence LaRue shares her spiritual hopes for The Fifth Dimension
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue shares what she would do differently in her life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue talks about her sisters
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about her ex-husbands
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue narrates her photographs