The song “Wedding Bell Blues” was written by the talented singer, songwriter, and musician Laura Nyro , who was the first to record it in 1966. Her version was on the U.S. Billboard Pop Singles “Bubbling Under” Chart and rose to #103. The 5th Dimension had several hits with Nyro songs, including “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness,” and decided to include it on their 1969 album The Age of Aquarius. They also released it as a single, and it went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #1 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and #23 on the U.S. R&B Singles chart. The song also #3 in Canada, #16 in the U.K., and #20 in Australia. It went on to earn an RIAA platinum record.
In the song, the singer is waiting and waiting for her man to commit to marrying her. During performances by The 5th Dimension, Marilyn McCoo, who was engaged to Billy Davis, Jr., would sing looking directly at him, as they had not yet set a wedding date. They did marry in 1969.
The phrase “wedding bell blues” about this type of lament became part of the language.
The 5th Dimension, originally called The Versatiles, formed in 1965 in Los Angeles. Their repertoire was quite versatile, covering a number of genres. This included R&B, pop, soul, sunshine pop, and psychedelic soul. The original members were Billy Davis Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, LaMonte McLemore, and Ron Townson. They had hits with “Up, Up and Away,” “Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures),”” “Working on a Groovy Thing,” and “One Less Bell to Answer,” among many others. There have been personnel changes over the years, but the group continues to tour and perform.