“Is That All There Is?” is a song written by American songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller during the 1960s. It became a hit for American singer Peggy Lee from her recording in November 1969. The song was originally recorded by Dan Daniels in March 1968, then by Leslie Uggams in August 1968, Guy Lombardo in 1969, and Tony Bennett on 22 December 1969.
Peggy Lee’s version reached number 11 on the U.S. pop singles chart – becoming her first Top 40 pop hit since “Fever,” 11 years earlier – and doing even better on the adult contemporary scene, topping that Billboard chart. It won Lee the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and then later was named to the Grammy Hall of Fame.
The lyrics of this existentialist song are written from the point of view of a person who is disillusioned with events in life that are supposedly unique experiences. The singer tells of witnessing her family’s house on fire when she was a little girl, seeing the circus, and falling in love for the first time. After each recital she expresses her disappointment in the experience. She suggests that we “break out the booze and have a ball — if that’s all there is”, instead of worrying about life. She explains that she’ll never kill herself either because she knows that death will be a disappointment as well. The verses of the song are spoken, rather than sung. Only the refrain of the song is sung.