The Magic Garden

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The Magic Garden
The 5th Dimension - The Magic Garden.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 1967 (1967-12)
RecordedJuly 15, 1967 – November 1967
StudioUnited/Western Recorders, Los Angeles
GenreR&B, pop, soul, sunshine pop, psychedelic soul
LabelSoul City Records
ProducerBones Howe
The 5th Dimension chronology
Up, Up and Away
The Magic Garden
Stoned Soul Picnic
Singles from The Magic Garden
  1. "Paper Cup"
    Released: 1967
  2. "Carpet Man"
    Released: 1968
  3. "The Girls' Song"
    Released: 1970
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars [1]

The Magic Garden is the second album by American pop group the 5th Dimension, released in 1967 (see 1967 in music). Considered a concept album, it tells the story of a couple's love and the end of their relationship. In more recent discussions of the album, that love affair is said to be about Jimmy Webb — who authored 10 of the album's 11 tracks — and his time with singer and then-girlfriend Susan Horton (In fact, the name Susan is referenced by name on the track "Dreams/Pax/Nepenthe"). The only non-Jimmy Webb song on the album, "Ticket to Ride", is an unused track from the group's first album, Up, Up and Away.

Following the ubiquitous success of Up, Up and Away, which spawned two Top-20 singles on the Billboard Pop Chart, expectations were high for The Magic Garden. However, the album just missed the Billboard Hot 100, and no Top 20 singles would emerge from it in the USA. The first single, "Paper Cup", rose only to #32. "Carpet Man", the album's second single, landed at #29 in the USA, but found great success in Canada, charting at #3 on Toronto's CHUM chart, and #11 on the RPM chart, in March 1968. The group performed the song on Kraft Music Hall (on an episode hosted by John Davidson) and the Ed Sullivan Show.

The Worst That Could Happen[edit]

One of the album's cuts, "The Worst That Could Happen", was culled from the LP and recorded as a single by Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge in January 1969, and became a smash top 3 hit in the USA. The 5th Dimension would have to wait for their next album, Stoned Soul Picnic, to achieve the same chart placement. To capitalize on the success of "The Worst That Could Happen", Soul City Records re-released The Magic Garden as The Worst That Could Happen. The re-release reverses the front and back covers of the original LP. The vinyl label still carried The Magic Garden as its title.

The original Magic Garden album was released in both mono (SCM-91001) and stereo (SCS-92001). It is unknown whether its reissue as The Worst That Could Happen was also reissued in mono, as Soul City's parent company, Liberty Records (and most other record labels) began phasing out monaural releases in the USA in 1968: stereo copies keep its original matrix number on Soul City / Liberty, SCS-92001.

The album, retitled "The Worst That Could Happen". The front cover is an image originally used on the back cover of The Magic Garden.

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Jimmy Webb, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Prologue" – 1:24
  2. "The Magic Garden" – 2:48
  3. "Summer's Daughter" – 3:03
  4. "Dreams/Pax/Nepenthe" – 3:24
  5. "Carpet Man" – 3:16
  6. "Ticket to Ride" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 4:00
Side two
  1. "Requiem: 820 Latham" – 4:26
  2. "The Girls' Song" – 4:09
  3. "The Worst That Could Happen" – 2:37
  4. "Orange Air" – 2:38
  5. "Paper Cup" – 2:48
  6. "Epilogue" – :56



The credited musicians (roles not specified) are Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn, Larry Knechtel, Mike Deasy, Tommy Tedesco, Dennis Budimir and Johnny Rivers.[2]

  • Jimmy Webb – music arranger
  • Bones Howe – producer, engineer
  • Armin Steiner – engineer
  • Elliot Federman – audio mastering
  • Mandana Eidgah – product manager
  • Rob Santos – reissue producer
  • Mike Hartry – digital transfers
  • Joanne Feltman – archives coordinator
  • Glenn Korman – archives coordinator
  • Woody Woodward – art director
  • Mathieu Bitton – reissue art director
  • Ron Wolin – design
  • Wayne Kimbell – illustrations
  • Ed Osborne – photography
  • George Rodriguez – photography
  • Mike Ragogna – liner notes



Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1968 Black Albums 43
1968 Pop Albums 105


Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Paper Cup" Pop Singles 34
1968 "Carpet Man" Pop Singles 29
1970 "The Girls'Song" Pop Singles 43

Cultural impact[edit]

"Carpet Man" has been covered by the Nocturnes, the Charade, the Parking Lot, and by the founder of the 5th Dimension's Soul City record label, Johnny Rivers. Dusty Springfield recorded a cover of "The Magic Garden", which surfaced on a Springfield anthology in the 1990s. [3]