Whether he rings her chimes or rings her bell, we suspect that the lady wants an encounter of the intimate kind. No obscure hidden meanings here. The song was written by singer/songwriter Frederick Knight, and he also produced the record. It was written originally as a teenybopper song about kids talking on the phone for 11-year-old Stacy Lattisaw. However, Lattisaw signed with a different label, and Knight asked Anita Ward to sing it. Although the lyrics are clean, with a lovely grown woman singing them, they became sexually suggestive. And this did not cause any issues in the 1970s. Ward is a gospel and R&B singer. She did not really like the song, the story goes. It became her biggest hit.
And what an international hit it was! In 1979, “Ring My Bell,” went to #1 in the U.S. — Billboard’s Hot 100, Hot Disco Singles, and Hot Soul Singles, as well as #1 in Cash Box and Record World. It went to #1 in Canada, the U.K., New Zealand, Norway, and Spain. It was in the Top 10 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and South Africa.
The song is one of the first big hits to feature a synthesized drum (that is, the Synare electronic drum) that was then used on many other disco records. To produce the song’s innovative sounds, it required three studios, four engineers, two remixers, a midnight mix by Richie Rivera, as well as Knight, who also sang backup vocals.
A bit of trivia about the song is that rapper and singer Snoop Dogg says that this was the first record he ever bought.