One Less Set of Footsteps

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"One Less Set of Footsteps"
One Less Set of Footsteps.jpg
Single by Jim Croce
from the album Life and Times
B-side "It Doesn't Have to Be That Way"
Released January 8, 1973[1]
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1972
Genre Folk rock
Length 2:46
Label ABC
Writer(s) Jim Croce
Producer(s) Terry Cashman, Tommy West
Jim Croce singles chronology
"Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)"
"One Less Set of Footsteps"
"Bad, Bad Leroy Brown"

"One Less Set of Footsteps" is a song written and performed by Jim Croce. It was released in 1973 as the first single from his album Life and Times. It reached a peak of #37 on the Billboard Hot 100, spending ten weeks on the chart.


The song describes a failing relationship between the narrator and his lover, and the ultimatum that the narrator is willing to move on from their former love. Throughout the song, the narrator recounts the fact that he and his lover have been knowingly moving apart, but have been unwilling to recognize it openly, "running from something [they] both know." In fact, the narrator hints that his lover may have been seeing other men during their relationship, and that he is just one of many men to "walk in" on her, and that his may be just one more "pair of jeans" hanging on her door. While it seems clear that the narrator has put up with his lover's infidelity for a time, he has decided to finally move on, refusing to accept her "silence" about the state of their relationship. He acknowledges that "it's what we've done that makes us what we are" as people, pointing out that their different choices in life have led them to become different types of people. The narrator goes on to announce that his lover's "silver tongue has turned to clay, and [her] golden rule to rust," using these metaphors to suggest that she no longer has an enchanting hold over him, and that he is free to leave the relationship. The narrator realizes that his "tomorrow's a dream away" only, and his failed relationship of "today" has in fact "turned to dust," leaving his life open to new possibilities and dreams. However, while the narrator cannot hide his enthusiasm about leaving his lover, he emphatically tells her, "don't be getting excited when you hear that slamming door." Because as he leaves, though she may have other men to keep her company, she will indeed have "one less set of footsteps on [her] floor in the morning."


The song is performed in the key of C Major, with the instrumentation of two acoustic guitars, acoustic piano, bass guitar, primary melody vocals, background harmony vocals, and drum set. The genre of the song could be considered to be in many categories, ranging from singer-songwriter to country, or from folk to classic rock. Following a brief guitar introduction, the song's structure is that of AABAA'BA, or two verses, followed by a chorus and a verse, a guitar solo in the form of a shortened verse, followed by a final repeat of the chorus and last verse. While most of the song is diatonic within the key of C, it does occasionally leave the central key, making use of the subtonic chord, as well as the secondary dominants of the V and vi chords.

Live performances[edit]

A live version of the song was released on his album "Have You Heard: Jim Croce Live".


Track listing[edit]

7" Single (ABC-11346)[2]

  1. "One Less Set Of Footsteps" - 2:46
  2. " It Doesn't Have to Be That Way" - 2:30

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1973) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 37
Canadian RPM Top Singles [3] 41
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary [4] 27
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 [5] 30
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary [6] 8


External links[edit]