Song Story: How Long Has It Been

Mosie Lister wrote “How Long Has It Been” which took him “little more than 10 minutes” to write. According to Lister, usually “I sweat blood over most of the songs I write.”

He spoke in an interview about growing up in a Christian home and saying bedtime prayers. As an adult, he’d learned to talk to God in “other ways.”  One day he decided to write a song to relive those memories of talking to God and asking “How long has it been since you prayed in that way?”

The song sold over 1 million copies of sheet music within the first five years and has been recorded by numeours artists.

Thomas Mosie Lister was born on September 8, 1921 and was an original member in The Statesmen Quartet. He wrote a number of songs including “Till the Storm Passes By”.  In 1976, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and in 1997 the Southern Gospel Music Association.  He died on February 12, 2015.

Albert Brumley, who wrote the song “I’ll Fly Away,” once declared Lister’s song to be the “greatest gospel song ever written.”

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