First recorded by The Sunshine Company (1967).
Hit version by The 5th Dimension (US #7/CAN #18 1967).
From the liner notes to The Best of the Sunshine Company: “The Sunshine Company’s very name summons the spirit of the mini-genre of 1960s pop-rock that, long after its heyday, was named Sunshine Pop. So does their music, with the requisite exquisite multi-part male-female harmonies, buoyant optimism, and luxuriant late-1960s L.A. studio production … a brief career that whisked them through the orbits of the Carpenters, the 5th Dimension, Jackson Browne, the Jefferson Airplane, Mary McCaslin, and John Davidson, ending at the even unlikelier destination of a pre-stardom Gregg Allman.
“After a club gig in Tustin, [California,] Nitty Gritty Dirt Band manager Bill McEuen (brother of the Dirt Band’s John McEuen) went backstage and offered the future Sunshine Company members a chance to record a song he had in mind. Though they had no recording aspirations, they gave it a go, putting their vocals on top of a track that had already been recorded for the tune. The song was ‘Up, Up and Away’.
“The Sunshine Company’s version was recorded in early 1967 and put on their first LP, Happy Is the Sunshine. ‘Up, Up and Away’ might have been released as their first single had the Fifth Dimension not released their own version in May, just before ‘Happy’ was to hit the stores. Producer Joe Saraceno [called] them the ‘most talented group I’ve ever worked with or seen,’ [and] puts a lot of blame on their failure to go further on the record company politics that had kiboshed the release of ‘Up, Up and Away’ — ‘they really got screwed.'”
The 5th Dimension, “Up, Up and Away” (1967):