Song of the Day, January 9: How Long by Ace

AceHowLongToday’s song is the first big hit featuring a talented vocalist who has recorded with many bands. Paul Carrack began his career with the jazz-rock combo Warm Dust. After they disbanded, he co-founded Ace, a pub-rock band that made the most of his blue-eyed soul vocals. Ace didn’t last much longer than Warm Dust, and Carrack began to do session work playing keyboards and providing backing vocals. He was an official member of Roxy Music for their reunion album, Manifesto, and played on later albums as a session musician. He released a solo album and began a long-time collaboration with Nick Lowe on a number of projects. This included a one-album stint with Squeeze, including lead vocals on one of their best-known songs, Tempted. He continued his solo and session career before joining Mike Rutherford’s side project between Genesis albums, Mike + the Mechanics. Carrack provided lead vocals on many of their hits, including the #1 hit The Living Years. He had his best solo success at the same time.

The song that launched that long career is a perfect song of aching betrayal. How Long is a classic of 70s radio, flawlessly crafted to show off a tight band and a stellar vocalist. Carrack actually wrote the song after discovering that bandmate Terry Comer was secretly working with other bands on the side. The lyric is brilliant, applying to any kind of betrayal with equal pain and grit.

Well, if friends with their fancy persuasion
Don’t admit that it’s part of a scheme
But I can’t help but have my suspicions
‘Cause I ain’t quite as dumb as I seem

Enjoy this classic hit today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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