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It's Been a Long, Long Time by Bing Crosby
Album: All the Number-One HitsReleased: 1945Charted:
This Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn composition was a major hit at the end of World War II. Cahn's lyrics were written from the perspective of a person welcoming home their loved one at the end of the war.
In the 1940s it was standard practice in the record industry for labels to release "competing" versions of hit songs. In this instance rival recordings by Harry James with a vocal by Kitty Kallen and Bing Crosby accompanied by The Les Paul Trio both found themselves working their way up the chart. And in a rare instance of competing covers of chart toppers also become chart toppers, the Bing Crosby version replaced the James' version at #1 on December 8, 1945.
Crosby's version features some memorable guitar by Les Paul, who recalled in an interview printed in Mojo magazine November 2009: "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."
Other artists who have recorded this song include Guy Mitchell, Sammy Kaye, The Inkspots, Brook Benton, Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como and Chet Atkins.