How Long by Ace (Anchor, 1975)

If you ever played in a band before, there’s a good chance that Paul Carrack was the keyboard player. This guy was in so many groups, it’s hard to keep track. He played officially in Roxy Music, Squeeze & Mike & the Mechanics and unofficially in the Smiths and the Pretenders, just to name a few. And he was in & out of Nick Lowe’s touring band for years. That’s why it’s a little odd that his first taste of success was writing a song about a bandmate who’s playing in other bands. How Long hit #3 in 1975 while Paul was singing with his 2nd band, Ace. The irony is that the guy he wrote it about actually plays bass on this 45 and is in fact the first musician you hear on the record. But judging by the part he plays, I’m not exactly sure why they needed to keep him.

It’s a simple song with a chord structure and intro eerily similar to 10cc’s I’m Not In Love, a hit in that same year, 1975. Paul’s easy-going blue-eyed soul (a stupid name for the genre – soul is soul) voice makes it a pop classic and brings me right back to that summer of 75, or as much as I can remember about it.

Here are the lyrics:

Well, if friends with their fancy persuasion
Don’t admit that it’s part of a scheme,
Then I can’t help but have my suspicions
‘Cause I ain’t quite as dumb as I seem.
And you said you was never intending
To break up our singing this way,
But there ain’t any use in pretending.
It could happen to us any day.

So if you thought it was about a cheating lover, you wouldn’t be far off. In fact that sounds more interesting than Paul getting pissy with a mate. How many times did other bands sing this song about Paul? Or did Paul take this song to heart and quit bands all the time and not be a moonlighter? Cause he ain’t quite as dumb as he seems…..

By the way, anyone else think that the cat in KISS was singing this song as a kid? Just wondering

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  1. Carrack also toured with Roger Waters on the Radio KAOS tour. They performed Tempted on the show I saw.

  2. “break up our SCENE in this way”


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