"How Long Has This Been Going On?" was originally written as a duet by George and Ira Gershwin for a Broadway show called Smarty. It was a song for Adele Astaire and Jack Buchanan on the occasion of their first kiss. According to lyricist Ira Gershwin in his book Lyrics on Several Occasions, the musical received a lukewarm reception at the Philadelphia preview. Two weeks later the song was dropped from the show and replaced by "He Loves and She Loves" ("not as good a song as the former," says Gershwin, "but one that managed to get over.")
Thirty years later Fred Astaire starred with Audrey Hepburn in a film version of Funny Face in which "How Long Has This Been Going On?" is sung by Hepburn and also appears as an instrumental. In the Broadway show brother and sister each fall in love with someone quite different from themselves. But in the movie Astaire is a fashion photographer who discovers a bookish waif whom he turns into a top model, and they fall in love despite an apparent age difference.
Neath the stars, at bazaars Often I've had to caress men Five or ten, dollars then, I'd collect from all those yes-men Don't be sad, I must add, that they meant no more than chess-men
Darling, can't you see? 'Twas for charity? Though these lips have made slips, it was never really serious Who'd have thought, I'd be brought to a state that's so delirious?
I could cry salty tears Where have I been all these years? Little wow, tell me now How long has this been goin' on?
There were chills up my spine And some thrills I can't define Listen sweet, I repeat How long has this been goin' on?
Oh, I feel that I could melt Into heaven I'm hurled I know how Columbus felt Finding another world
Kiss me once, then once more What a dunce I was before What a break, for heaven's sake How long has this been goin' on?
Kiss me twice, kiss me twice then once more That makes thrice, let's make it four What a break, for Heaven's sake How long has this been goin' on?