“Jimmy Webb was pretty much a child at the time. He was this crazy kid from Oklahoma who came out to California with all these far-out dreams. He was in love with some girl and wrote a bunch of songs about her. As far as I understand it, one day he was in Palm Springs and saw these balloons that were being launched. So he decided to write about them. Took him 10 minutes.
“Jimmy brought the song in to Johnny Rivers and Marc Gordon, who were producing The 5th Dimension at the time. Bones Howe was workin’ the knobs – we had knobs before faders. We all thought the track was killer. It was one of those songs you heard and you went, ‘Well, there’s nothing to think about. It’s a hit.’
“I played my blue sparkle Ludwig kit on the track, which is the set everybody in Hollywood was buying at the time. It was an easy song to play. I used a stick and a brush because I didn’t want to do anything flashy; I wanted to hear the tune. What’s funny is, Tommy Tedesco did all of these amazing guitar runs, really incredible stuff – and he didn’t get in the way! Everything he played worked like a charm.”
Listen: The 5th Dimension - Up, Up And Away (1967)