A duet written by George and Ira Gershwin in 1927 for the Broadway musical Smarty, “How Long Has This Been Going On” was originally sung by Adele Astaire and Jack Buchanan to describe the excitement of a first kiss.

Two weeks into the show, the composition was dropped and replaced by another Gershwin songs -“He Loves and She Loves.”  Two months later, “How Long Has This Been Going On?” was rewritten as a solo and featured in the Broadway production Rosalie.

This composition did not become mainstream until its recording by Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman. The song’s charm, innovate harmonies and use of African American folk/religious rhythms are credited with its long-lasting popularity. 

Additionally the song’s erotic (for the time) lyrics such as “Oh, I feel that I could melt; into heaven I’m hurled” made it a tune not easy to forget.

“How Long Has This Been Going On?” has been covered by numerous musicians, including Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Pass and many more.

Tune in to First Take with Chavis and Lando  weekdays from 6-9 am MST – for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of this song all week long!

Photo credit: fineartamerica.com. Information from jazzstandards.com.

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