Where Have You Been (All My Life)

1962 single by Arthur Alexander

“Where Have You Been (All My Life)” is a song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Arthur Alexander version[edit]

“Where Have You Been (All My Life)” was first released by Arthur Alexander in 1962, with “Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)” as the B-side, on Dot Records[2] (London Records in the UK).[3] Alexander biographer Richard Younger describes the song as “a classic example of sixties pop songwriting that captures the thrill of first love.”[4]Billboard Magazine described the song as “an emotion-packed theme with solid female chorus work,” and also praised the feeling Alexander imbues his vocal with.[4] Younger praises the “maturity” of Alexander’s vocal performance, comparing it favorably to that on the earlier “You Better Move On,” particularly how Alexander handles the “intricate melody, which ascends from the opening lines of revelation…to a chorus that is half-plea and half-exclamation.”[4] Producer Noel Ball claimed to have taken Alexander “way uptown” with the recording, creating what Younger describes as “a thrilling production that builds from a stark bass and drum into a mini-symphony with strings reminiscent of The Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby.”[4] The song peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100.[4] Authors David Hatch and Stephen Millward see a resemblance between “Where Have You Been (All My Life)” and early songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.[5]

The Beatles covered both “Where Have You Been (All My Life)” and “Soldier of Love” live early in their career.[6] There is a live version by the Beatles on the bootleg album Live 31 December 1962 at the Star Club, Hamburg, Germany with John Lennon on lead vocal.[7][8] Music critic Richie Unterberger described the song as “cool” and “moody” but complained that the sound on this recording was too “muddy” to be able to figure out the lyrics.[8]

The song was recorded by Gene Vincent on Columbia Records,[9] and by Gerry and the Pacemakers on Laurie.[10][4] Also the Liverpool-based group The Searchers recorded the song on Pye Records for their 1964 LP It’s The Searchers.[11]Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders also recorded it, appearing in B side of their 1964 eponymous album.[12]

This song with the title Till We Kissed, was sung by the New Zealander Ray Columbus & the Invaders in a 1965 single of the same name.[13] Also Canadian band The Guess Who publish the song with this title in their 1965 debut album Shakin’ All Over.[14]

Roy Clark released a song with the same title, but written by Wayland Holyfield, in his 1978 album : Labor of Love.[15]


  1. ^ Younger, R. “Arthur Alexander”. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  2. ^ 45cat entry
  3. ^ 45cat entry
  4. ^ a b c d e f Younger, Richard (2000). Get a shot of rhythm and blues: the Arthur Alexander story. University of Alabama Press. pp. 59–60, 67. ISBN 9780817310233.
  5. ^ Hatch, David & Millward, Stephen (1987). From Blues to Rock: An Analytical History of Pop Music. Manchester University Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780719014895.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Sulpy, Doug & Schweighardt, Ray (1999). Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of the Beatles’ ” Let It Be” Disaster. MacMillan. pp. 235–236. ISBN 9780312199814.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Beatles Lyric, Jiri Wagner © 1999 – 2010 at boskowan.com. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  8. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie (2014). The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film (Revised & Expanded Ebook ed.). BookBaby. ISBN 9780991589265.
  9. ^ Where Have You Been All My Life – Gene Vincent | Song Info | AllMusic, retrieved 2020-06-02
  10. ^ Where Have You Been All My Life? – Gerry & the Pacemakers | Song Info | AllMusic, retrieved 2020-06-02
  11. ^ It’s the Searchers – The Searchers | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 2020-06-02
  12. ^ Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders – Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 2020-05-31
  13. ^ “Ray Columbus And The Invaders – Till We Kissed”. Discogs. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  14. ^ “Shakin all over”. Allmusic. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  15. ^ Labor of Love – Roy Clark | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 2020-06-02