The following is from my book A Gershwin Companion (Popular Culture, 1991):
George and Ira Gershwin's Love is Here to Stay
This song, George Gershwin's last, was introduced by Kenny Baker in the film The Goldwyn Follies, released by Goldwyn-United Artists on February 23, 1938.
At Gershwin's death, on July 11, 1937, only a twenty-bar lead sheet had been written down. But Oscar Levant remembered the piece well from the composer's piano renditions and his memory was indispensable when Vernon Duke was brought in to complete the score and reconstruct the song. Actually, it was at Levant's insistence that Gershwin had spent two days trying to put more breathing space into the long phrases—before realizing that the original version as best. Ira Gershwin also offered some musical advice during the composition of this number and his advice was taken. Ira's suggestion was that dotted eighth notes be placed in the ninth and tenth bars (these are the “and”s in “The radio and the telephone and”).
As for the verse (“The more I read the papers, the less I comprehend”), it is not by George Gershwin. In fact, there is some question as to who did write it. In his autobiography, Passport to Paris, Duke claims that he wrote the verses for all of the Gershwin songs in The Goldwyn Follies. Ira later claimed that he, Ira, had come up with the music for this verse and that he had sung it to Duke, who wrote it down. As for the other Gershwin songs in the score, Ira, in his 1959 book Lyrics on Several Occasions, says only that he and Duke “fixed up la couple of missing verses.”
The lyricist never did have a reason for the discrepancy between the title and the lyric. Upon including the song in Lyrics on Several Occasions, he had wanted to change the title to “Our Love is Here to Stay” but balked, feeling that it was too late to alter such a well-known song.
“Love is Here to Stay” was not given an elaborate or even a prominent spot in The Goldwyn Follies. Only when Gene Kelly sang it to Leslie Caron in the 1951 film An American in Paris did it catch on.
The eighteen-bar verse (“The more I read the papers”) is not by George Gershwin but it is worthy of him and of the refrain that follows. It is in the same quiet, ruminative and through-composed style that characterized so many of his last verses. In its ninth and tenth bars (on “Nothing seems to be lasting”) it achieves a tender sound with a succession of major and minor seventh chords. The refrain (“It's very clear/Our love is hear to stay) begins with three pick-up notes, each supported by its own distinctive chord. In the second eight measures we get the long phrases that Oscar Levant objected to and for which Ira Gershwin suggested the connecting “and”s (at “The radio and the telephone”). These notes descend slowly and with a swaying motion, like a falling leaf. We don't know if Gershwin knew he was dying but this beautiful music, which is touched by resignation, seems quite uncanny.
Some historical recordings worth noting: Kenny Baker's soundtrack recording is available. He did not record a studio version but Ella Logan, who was also in The Goldwyn Follies, did—on December 30, 1937. A day earlier, Abe Lyman had set down his version. Then, in January 1938, came recordings by Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, George Hall's Arcadians, Gene Kardos and His Orchestra, and Red Norvo and His Orchestra. George and Ira's sister, Frances, recorded a version in the 1970s. One should not overlook Gene Kelly's 1951 recording from the film An American in Paris.