Friday, April 24, 2009

#83: How Long Has This Been Going On?

I could cry salty tears
Where have I been all these years
Little wow, tell me now
How long has this been going on?

Written by the brothers Gershwin in 1927, this emotional roller-coaster of a song has been tossed around a bit. It was dropped from the musical, "Funny Face," before it hit Broadway -- but was later included in the movie version thirty years later, sung by Audrey Hepburn. It appeared earlier on stage in "Rosalie," a show about a princess from a mythical kingdom who falls in love with a West Point cadet, but was dropped from the movie version, when Cole Porter wrote all new music and lyrics. Musicologist Allen Forte must have liked it, however; he wrote eight pages of analysis on this song, noting in the bridge, “Ira gives us his all, with the erotic lyric ‘Oh, I feel that I could melt; into heaven I’m hurled’--erotic for that time, that is."

Originally made famous by Peggy Lee and then rediscovered by Sarah Vaughn, this one has attracted performers as diverse as Van Morrison, Bon Jovi and Cher, but I personally like the Kristin Chenoweth version from her album, "Let Yourself Go." Also, check out this live performance by Judy Butterfield at Jazz at Lincoln Center, which has a different opening verse and has a slower tempo than I'm used to, but is still quite lovely.

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