Song Lyric Sunday | “One Less Bell to Answer” – The 5th Dimension

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  crying/sadness.”

I was in 4th grade when this song hit the charts, and I’ve been singing it ever since!
Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote One Less Bell to Answer for Keely Smith in 1967, but she never recorded it. Bones Howe, producer for the 5th Dimension rediscovered the song and it was part of the group’s 1970 debut album, Portrait.
One Less Bell to Answer was an instant hit and went platinum. The song reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number one on the Adult Contemporary chart, as well as No. 4 on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart.
The song is about losing your love, and the sadness that follows the loss. The lead vocals were by Marilyn McCoo, who was the 5th Dimension’s featured vocalist at the time. She sings that she should be happy that her man is gone but all she does is cry – no more laughter.
  • Lyricist Hal David was at a dinner party when it was announced someone wasn’t turning up, and the hostess said: ‘that’s one less bell to answer’. He went home and wrote One Less Bell to Answer that night.
  • The song has been covered more than a dozen times by artists including Rosemary Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Vicki Carr, Sheryl Crow and Vanessa Williams.
  • Bacharach included a version of the song on his own 1971 debut album with Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mom) as vocalist.
  • The 5th Dimension version of the song was prominently featured in an episode of the Robert Wagner TV series, It Takes a Thief.

The video is a live television performance and I love the outfits SO MUCH! They’re like Star Trek and Xena, Warrior Princess went to a Renaissance fair together! 😀

But this group could wear potato sacks and it wouldn’t take away from their smooth, rhythmic sound–and the skills of Bacharach and David. So glad their music is timeless because no one is making music like this today.


See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

One Less Bell to Answer

by the 5th Dimension
Songwriters: Burt Bacharach and Hal David
One less bell to answer
One less egg to fry
One less man to pick up after
I should be happy
But all I do is cry(Cry, cry, no more laughter)
Oh, I should be happy
(Oh, why did he go)
I only know that since he left
My life’s so empty

Though I try to forget
It just can’t be done
Each time the doorbell rings
I still run
I don’t know how in the world
To stop thinking of him
‘Cause I still love him so
I end each day the way I start out
Crying my heart out

Oh, one less man to pick up after
No more laughter
No more love
Since he went, oh he went away (he went away)

(One less bell to answer)
Why did he leave me
(Oh why, why, why did he leave)
(One less bell to answer)
Now I’ve got one less egg to fry
One less egg to fry
(Oh why, why, why did he leave)
And all I do is cry
(One less bell to answer)
Because my man told me goodbye
(Oh why, why, why did he leave)
(One less bell to answer)
Somebody tell me please
Where did he go, why did he go
(Oh, why, why did he leave)
Tell me, how could he leave me