How Long Has This Been Going On?
Ella Fitzgerald Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

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?

Let me dream that it's true
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?

Overall Meaning

In Ella Fitzgerald's song "How Long Has This Been Going On", she reflects on her past experiences with men in a bittersweet way. The first stanza suggests that she has had to use her charm and physical appeal to receive money from men, but ultimately recognizes that they were just pawns in her game. The second stanza reveals feelings of regret, with Fitzgerald wondering where she has been all these years and questioning how long these experiences have been a part of her life. The third stanza takes a more positive and romantic turn, as Fitzgerald expresses a sense of ecstasy and compares it to the feeling that Columbus must have had when he discovered America. The song ends on a hopeful note, with Fitzgerald questioning her past mistakes and realizing that a new romantic chapter in her life is just beginning.


Overall, "How Long Has This Been Going On" is a song that is both melancholic and optimistic, reflecting the complicated emotions and experiences that come with falling in love and navigating relationships. It is a testament to Fitzgerald's ability to convey complex feelings through her powerful vocals, and is an enduring classic that continues to resonate today.


Line by Line Meaning

Neath the stars, at bazaars
Under the stars, at markets


Often I've had to caress men
Frequently, I have had to charm men


Five or ten dollars then I'd collect from all those yes-men
I would accept five or ten dollars from those who blindly agreed with me


Don't be sad, I must add, that they meant no more than chess-men
Don't be upset, I must mention that these men meant nothing more to me than chess pieces


Darling, can't you see?
My dear, can't you understand?


'Twas for charity?
It was for a good cause, was it not?


Though these lips have made slips, it was never really serious
Although I may have misspoken, it was never truly significant


Who'd have thought I'd be brought to a state that's so delirious?
Who would have imagined I could be so elated?


I could cry salty tears
I could weep tears of sorrow


Where have I been all these years?
What have I missed all this time?


Little wow, tell me now
Dear friend, please tell me


How long has this been goin' on?
How long has this been happening?


There were chills up my spine
I felt a shiver down my back


And some thrills I can't define
And some sensations that I cannot describe


Listen sweet, I repeat
Listen dear, I say again


How long has this been goin' on?
How long has this been happening?


Oh, I feel that I could melt
Oh, I feel as if I could dissolve


Into heaven I'm hurled
I am transported to heaven


I know how Columbus felt
I understand how Columbus felt


Finding another world
Discovering a new world


Kiss me once, then once more
Kiss me once, and then again


What a dunce I was before
How foolish I was in the past


What a break, for Heaven's sake
What an opportunity, for Heaven's sake


How long has this been goin' on?
How long has this been happening?


Kiss me twice, once more, thrice, make it four
Kiss me twice, then again, then thrice, make it four times


What a break, for Heaven's sake
What an opportunity, for Heaven's sake


How long has this been goin' on?
How long has this been happening?




Lyrics © Kanjian Music, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@josesecote8020

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?

Let me dream that it's true

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?



All comments from YouTube:

@josesecote8020

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?

Let me dream that it's true

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?

@sfden50

Thank God we have the recordings, because American music is never going to be this good again. Ella here is simply beyond words - perfect, yet so human - I'm at a loss for words - Just hearing her sing lifts me way up -

@johnhextall1136

Ira Gershwin said he and his brother George never realised how good their songs were until they heard Ella sing them.

@Dylonely42

She had a wonderful voice…

@DaOrigTruthSeeker

This is the best version of this song to date.

@matheus5230

Ella made other two great versions: in 1957, almost 6 minutes long for the album Like Someone To Love, arranged by Frank Devol, and another in 1959 arranged by Nelson Riddle for the Gershwin songbook

@AmandaChoin217

I have fallen asleep to this song for about 2 weeks... I love it! :)

@oxford172

I feel myself melting with her voice, nobody can top Ella!

@scott12061972

the best standard of a voice ever. All others could takes a lesson

@Deeperondown

Wow. This is perfection to my ears.

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