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Love Is Here to Stay (1938)

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Origin and Chart Information
“‘Love Is Here to Stay’ was the last song George Gershwin composed.”

- JW

AKAOur Love Is Here to Stay
Rank 57
Music George Gershwin
Lyrics Ira Gershwin

Kenny Baker introduced “Love Is Here to Stay” in the 1938 United Artists film The Goldwyn Follies, Samuel Goldwyn’s attempt to become the Ziegfeld of the Silver Screen.


More on Kenny Baker at JazzBiographies.com

The song was given very little attention in the film and was almost relegated to background music with Baker’s performance partly covered by dialogue. Despite its on-screen treatment, “Love Is Here to Stay” went on to become a hit twice in 1938. Larry Clinton and His Orchestra (Bea Wain, vocal) took it to number 15 on the pop charts, and Red Norvo and His Orchestra (Mildred Bailey, vocal) leveled at number 16. It was not until Gene Kelly sang it in An American in Paris (1952), however, that the song became a standard.


Chart information used by permission from
Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954

In addition to Baker, The Goldwyn Follies starred Vera Zorina, the Ritz Brothers, Adolphe Menjou, and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy in their film debut. The film also featured The American Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. The song and dance numbers hung loosely upon the story of a movie producer who hires a girl (“Miss Humanity”) to evaluate his films from the perspective of an ordinary person.

Although the film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Score and Best Interior Decoration, it is considered an overblown extravaganza, interesting only for its production numbers. Other all-Gershwin songs in the score were “I Was Doing All Right,” “Love Walked In,” and “Love to Rhyme.” Vernon Duke composed “Spring Again” with lyrics by Ira.

According to Ira Gershwin in his book, Lyrics on Several Occasions, he and George finished five songs in the first six weeks of their Goldwyn Follies contract. Those were also the last six weeks of George’s work before his death on July 11, 1937. The fifth song, referred to by Ira and not mentioned above, was “Just Another Rhumba” which was not used in the film. “Love Is Here to Stay” was the last song George composed.

Ira was not pleased with the film’s treatment of the song saying,

So little footage was given to “Love Is Here to Stay”--I think only one refrain--that it meant little in The Goldwyn Follies. Beautifully presented in An American in Paris, it became better known.


More on Ira Gershwin at JazzBiographies.com

More on George Gershwin at JazzBiographies.com

George Gershwin would often perform his new songs for friends, interested to hear their impressions. Never at a loss for words or opinions, Oscar Levant was always happy to oblige. In Levant’s book, A Smattering of Ignorance, he says,

[“Love Is Here to Stay”] has a curiously continuous line, a rather complex pattern. After first hearing it I complained of its lack of breathing space in the second eight bars, its too-long contours, uttering some very cogent--so I thought--reasons for my opinion. George spent two days trying to rephrase the melody and simplify the line, eventually returning to the original form of it. Ira was quite annoyed with me, and rightly.

Not long after, Levant would have an opportunity to utilize his legendary memory and redeem himself. Although George had played the verses to “Love Is Here to Stay,” “Love Walked In,” and “I Was Doing Alright,” he had not written them down. When Goldwyn requested they hire a composer to complete George’s work, Ira chose Vernon Duke who would later say in his autobiography Passport to Paris,

... fortunately, Oscar Levant remembered the harmonies from George’s frequent piano performances of the song and I was able faithfully to reconstruct it.

“Love Is Here to Stay” is often referred to as “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” The original working title was “It’s Here to Stay” which soon became “Our Love Is Here to Stay” and then “Love Is Here to Stay.” According to Philip Furia in his biography Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist, for years Ira wanted to change the title back to his original idea, “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” but felt it would not be right as the song had become a standard. However, he did make the change in 1960 with the publication of The George and Ira Gershwin Songbook.

More information on this tune...

Ira Gershwin
Lyrics on Several Occasions
Limelight Editions
Paperback: 424 pages

(The lyricist himself discusses his lyric and tells anecdotes.)
See the Reading and Research links on this page for additional references.

- Jeremy Wilson

Recommendations for This Tune
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This late-career performance shows how much charisma and interpretive skill Holiday maintained even as her health and her voice were deteriorating. Her band here is wonderful as well, with tenor saxophonist Ben Webster in particularly good form.
Shirley Horn
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This remarkable live performance of “Love Is Here to Stay”’ is a highlight of Horn’s “comeback,”’ as she returned to the major-label limelight with this album after more than twenty years of keeping a lower profile. She shines here with both her singing and piano playing.

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McCrae, with typical deftness, walks the tightrope between faithful interpretation and rhythmic unpredictability. Her impeccably swinging band here is a quartet led by pianist Dick Katz and featuring drummer Kenny Clarke.
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Evans is particularly relaxed and spontaneous on this live trio recording. Bassist Eddie Gomez also shines with his interactive accompaniment and a gripping solo.
Booker Ervin
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“Love Is Here to Stay”’ is raw and passionate in the hands of wailing tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin. This fast-paced bop version features Tommy Flanagan at the piano.
Dexter Gordon
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Gordon is at his playful, creative best on this swinging live performance in France with Bud Powell, Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke.
John Pizzarelli
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Sophisticated vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli delivers a lazily swinging version of the title track. His rendition was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Instrumentation Arrangement with Accompanying Vocals.
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Brassy vocalist Etta Jones takes her time with this slow but swinging version of the song. A hint of blues in the delivery gives the tune a touch more heat.

- Ben Maycock

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