Thursday, August 18, 2016

The 5th Dimension - "One Less Bell to Answer" (1970)

"One Less Bell to Answer" (1970) - The 5th Dimension

Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David * Produced by Bones Howe * 45: "One Less Bell to Answer"/"Feelin' Alright" (Bell) * LP: Portrait (Bell) * Billboard charts: Hot 100 (#2), easy listening (#1) * Entered: 1970-10-24

The plush "One Less Bell to Answer" is the sound of an abandoned housewife reclining on her personal crushed velvet chaise lounge; she'll miss her man and his company but she won't be going anywhere and won't be losing anything other than him. It's definitely a more complicated economic iteration of the breakup songs that were otherwise populating the soul and country charts in those days. The other four members of the 5th Dimension are virtually absent on "One Less Bell to Answer," which was the group's first hit on the Bell label after switching over from Soul City. Marilyn McCoo contributed the lead vocal as she would do on all of their biggest subsequent hits. A classic entry in the Burt Bacharach-Hal David catalog, the song originally appeared as a 1967 Keely Smith vehicle, employing an opening doorbell gimmick and projecting an aura of despair. McCoo's version, in contrast, featured her cool composure and an elegant arrangement that gave the song a more sophisticated range of interpretive possibilities. The Portrait album's version of Dave Mason's  "Feelin' Alright"—a late sixties FM rock hit for Traffic later popularized even more by Joe Cocker and Grand Funk Railroad—appeared on Side B of the single.

Side A: "One Less Bell to Anwer"

Side B: "Feelin' Alright" 

See also: A KMPC Playlist circa 1971

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