The 5th Dimension – “One Less Bell to Answer!”

Photo Credit:


This Burt Bacharach/Hal David song was originally written for Keely Smith (Louis Prima’s ex-singing partner) but she never recorded it.

Hal David on how he came up with the lyrics for this song: “I paid attention to what people said. One time I was at a dinner party when it was announced someone was not turning up, and the hostess said: ‘that’s one less bell to answer’. I went home and wrote ‘One Less Bell to Answer’ – ‘one less spells the answer. One less egg to fry.'” (From the Independent newspaper May 9, 2008)

This 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. Released in (1970) on the Album “Portrait,” this song Peaked at # 2 in the USA.

In November of 1970, the group was guests on the television series with Robert Wagner called It Takes A Thief and performed both “Puppet Man” and “One Less Bell to Answer” on the show.




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 still run)
I don’t know-how in the world to stop thinking of him
Cause I still love him so (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 did he leave)

Now I’ve got one less egg to fry (One less bell to answer)
One less egg to fry (Oh, why, why did he leave)
And all I do is cry
(One less bell to answer) Because a man told me goodbye
(Oh, why, why did he leave)

Somebody tell me please (One less bell to answer)
Where did he go, why did he go (Oh, why, why did he leave)
How could he leave me

Writer/s: Burt F. Bacharach, Hal David