It's Been a Long, Long Time

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"It's Been a Long, Long Time"
Song by Harry James and Kitty Kallen
Released1945 (1945)
Composer(s)Jule Styne
Lyricist(s)James Terlingo, Sammy Cahn

"It's Been a Long, Long Time" is a jazz song written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn that was a hit at the end of World War II.[1] The lyrics are written from the perspective of a person welcoming home his or her spouse at the end of the war.


1945 recording by Bing Crosby with Les Paul and His Trio on Decca

The music was written by Jule Styne and the lyrics were written by Sammy Cahn.

A recording by Harry James with vocals by Kitty Kallen[1] reached No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 chart on November 24, 1945.[2] A version by Bing Crosby (recorded on July 12, 1945)[3] also charted[4] and replaced James's version at No. 1 on December 8, 1945,[5] to be replaced after a week by Sammy Kaye's "Chickery Chick." The Harry James recording returned to the top spot on December 22 for another week.

Other recordings of "It's Been a Long, Long Time" that charted in 1945 were recorded by Charlie Spivak & His Orchestra with vocal by Irene Daye[6] and Stan Kenton & His Orchestra with vocal by June Christy.[7]

Les Paul recalled in an interview for Mojo magazine, "Bing was a sucker for guitar and that particular song was a case of you don't have to play a lot of notes, you just have to play the right notes."[8]

The song became a jazz standard with versions recorded by The DeMarco Sisters (1945)[9], June Haver and Dan Dailey (1950), Perry Como (1956), Al Hibbler (1956), Peggy Lee (1959), Keely Smith (1959), Louis Armstrong (1964), and Tom Jones (1966). Frank Sinatra sang a version on his radio show (Your Hit Parade, 1945) that appeared on many compilation albums.

Uses in popular culture[edit]

The Harry James/Kitty Kallen recording of the song was used in two films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, notably as a tragically ironic piece of music representing Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) and love interest Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) being torn apart by time. It is first used in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is hiding in Steve's apartment after an assassination attempt by HYDRA agents in the streets of Washington DC, before he is shot by the Winter Soldier. It is later used at the end of Avengers: Endgame when Steve travels back in time and chooses to live out his life with Peggy. The two share a slow dance set to the song, a reference to the dance date Rogers promised Carter right before he was lost in ice for 70 years in Captain America: The First Avenger.[10]

Other notable recordings[edit]

Others who have recorded it include Doris Day (on her 1965 album Doris Day's Sentimental Journey), Guy Mitchell,[11] Sammy Cahn, Shelley Fabares (on her 1962 album Shelley!), Helen Forrest (with Harry James), Sammy Kaye, The Ink Spots, Tina Louise, Jimmy Roselli, Brook Benton, Rosemary Clooney, Chet Atkins with Les Paul (on their 1976 album Chester and Lester), and Brent Spiner (on his 1991 album Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back).


  1. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 2, side A.
  2. ^ It's Been a Long, Long Time: 1945
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  4. ^ Gilliland 1994, tape 3, side A.
  5. ^ Song artist 3 - Bing Crosby.
  6. ^ Best of Big Band 1945
  7. ^ Stan Kenton & His Orchestra, 1945
  8. ^ It's Been A Long, Long Time Songfacts
  9. ^ The Five DeMarco Sisters. Billboard. December 15, 1945.
  10. ^ Robinson, Joanna (25 April 2019). "Avengers: The Hidden Meaning Behind That Final Endgame Song". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  11. ^ Guy Mitchell, The Collection


  • Grudens, Richard (2002). Bing Crosby: Crooner of the Century. Celebrity Profiles Publishing Co. ISBN 1-57579-248-6.
  • Macfarlane, Malcolm. Bing Crosby: Day By Day. Scarecrow Press, 2001.
  • Osterholm, J. Roger. Bing Crosby: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Press, 1994.