How Long Has This Been Going On?

Reviewed by mojo

Ya know, there are some songs Mojo might not be all that thrilled about--meaning slow, draggy ballads for the most part--that Ella makes perfectly listenable through sheer freakin' talent. If this was next up at a karaoke bar (to be honest I've never BEEN to a karaoke bar, so I don't know if they forewarn you as to the upcoming number or the talent of the singer ahead of time so you can make a quick exit if the place starts sounding like a catfight)...uh, where was I? Oh, the karaoke bar. If this song was next up at a karaoke bar Mojo would deem it time to politely take a bathroom break, since in the hands of a mediocre singer this is going to be an INTERMINABLE song, okay? There, I said it. Interminable. Yes, Mojo knows five-syllable words. And she knows what she likes. And some dreadful amateur trying to sing this while Mojo sits in a really uncomfortable chair and debating going to see just how filthy the bar's bathroom is going to be.... I think that's one of the rings in Dante's Inferno, isn't it? If not, it should be.

But in sashays our gal Ella and all of a sudden Mojo forgets her discomfort and just sits and listens. That's the power of Ella's voice, don'tcha know.  It's just so utterly PERFECT: so utterly in control, so expressive, and there's that "glowing lower register" again. Dang, that woman just can't miss, can she?

I'm sounding like I hate this song more than I actually do. I really don't. It's not one of my all-time FAVORITES, but it's a nice enough song, arranged and sung by people at the top of their respective games. And some of the wordplay is witty: "Darling, can't you see? T'was for charity...." Though I have to admit, if I started calling my Favorite Husband "Little Wow" I suspect he'd disown me. And it's clear Ella liked it: she recorded it several times, from the very start of her career. So what does Mojo know? Precious little. Really, if she didn't like Ella I wouldn't bother with her myself.

I will say this: If you ever aspire to become a professional singer, this is the song to study. If you can pull this one off, with all the sustained control and perfect pitch and the range and all, and Mojo is still sincerely smiling at the end and not that painful, pasted polite smile she assumes when she is barely tolerating your existence, then friend, I think you might HAVE something....

How Long Has This Been Going On? (1959)

Click below to hear a sample--or scroll down for associated media: 
Disc Number: 
George Gershwin
Ira Gershwin

From Wikipedia:


"How Long Has This Been Going On?" is a song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin for the musical Funny Face in 1927.

Replaced by "He Loves and She Loves" in Funny Face, it was eventually introduced in the musical Rosalie (1928) by Bobbe Arnst.

 Notable recordings