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Ace

Ace were one of the few pub rock groups to enjoy success on the pop charts, largely due to the warm, soulful vocals of Paul Carrack. While Carrack's voice certainly had crossover appeal -- as he would later prove with his own records, as well as his work with Squeeze and Roxy Music -- the band was also less devoted to the three-chord boogie and country-rock that marked most pub rock bands, favoring soulful R&B. And while they did have hits, their time in the spotlight was brief, and they fell apart shortly after Carrack left for a solo career.

Phil Harris (guitar) and Alan "Bam" King (guitar, vocal) formed Ace in 1972, recruiting Paul Carrack (keyboards, vocals), Terry "Tex" Comer (bass), and Steve Witherington (drums) over the course of the next year. Before the group began recording, they went through several drummers -- Witherington was replaced by Chico Greenwood, who was later replaced by Fran Byrne in 1974. After developing a small but dedicated following on the pub rock circuit, Ace signed with Anchor Records and recorded Five-a-Side. "How Long" -- a song about Comer leaving the band briefly to play with the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, and his subsequent return -- was released as the first single. Most listeners interpreted the song as an ode to a crumbling love affair, and it became a fluke hit in both the U.K. and the U.S. Ace released Time for Another in 1975, but it was generally ignored, especially since the popularity of pub rock was declining rapidly.

Harris left the band in early 1976 and was replaced by John Woodhead. Later that year, Ace opened unsuccessfully for Yes, and then moved to Los Angeles, hoping that the U.S. would prove more receptive to their music. It wasn't. Ace released a final album, No Strings, in 1977 and then disbanded. Comer, Carrack, and Byrne all joined Frankie Miller, but by 1979, Carrack had left to sing with Roxy Music. Following his time with Roxy, he launched a solo career, which he balanced with playing with artists like Squeeze, Nick Lowe, and Mike + the Mechanics. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

The story behind the song had everyone fooled. And of course the song was awesome.
Paul Carrack is one of the most underrated singers of all time. Wish he come back to the US for some shows!
stasch78568
Ace opened unsuccessful l y for Yes

I saw their show in Indianapolis on that tour. Ace and Joe Cocker were opening for Yes, but Cocker got sick. They brought in an up-and-comin g band called Kansas to fill in. Ace was okay, but they were an odd fit with the other bands.
jh5252
Big dady skagman
My blue eye soul side
I always thought this was Frampton
Many memories in this song!
ljillani
The correct lyric is to break up our SCENE in this way, not break up our singing...
johnmargie6
Let me tell ya, this was when music was music .........
When I first heard this, I was so convinced it must be Procol Harum because the lead singer sure sounds like the one from this group.
Yep I grew up with the Barry Manilow version.
Stick with pre1973 Caddys' here
lindamast641 5 5
not to take anything away from them but didn't Barry Manilow make this too?
bobbyu59
Old school good old days cruzin nights.
Played 5-a-side football against Paul and Ace in front of their hotel in Plymouth, England when they were touring in 1975. How Long is one of the best songs of all time!
Wow, this is great!
@msmandl, it's Paul Carrack, while he never played with Procol Harum, he did with Mike & the Mechanics and had a very successful solo career, search him by name
The group's singer sure sounds like the singer from Procul Harum. I thought it was the same guy in fact.
Ace in the hole!
Wow! flashbacks at 100 %! love it!!
I love this song!
jcotoole45
ssusan - me too! Those days were a while back
ssusan271
Love the melody of this song, brings me back to the good old days.
itial D (頭文字D
ron1605
great high school memories
Brings back great memories of senior year of high school!
GREAT SONG..A CLASSIC
I AGREE, ronstanko .
ronstanko
Had this album and Ace is Ace and they have their own sound. They do not sound like Hall and Oats or anyone else. A shame they did so little as a group. This song is a staple on every classic rock station in the USA
I thought this was Van Halen for years...... NUMBNUTTS.
It's so funny because people think that Hall and Oates did How Long and Baby Come Back by Player. They never even covered either song.
Reallly thought it was about a love affair, found out recently it was about the guitar player cheating on the band.:)
I swear, I thought this was by Pablo Cruise for years....
How Long by Ace has been a song I have played every couple of weeks since it came out in 1975, a simple but classy classic, what a rare gem!
I agree that the soft rock music of the 70's will always be the best! It is what I come back to time and time again... Sometimes I long for those days...Life was simple and love was all I needed...
what about the Hall and Oates Similarities
bigbri745
Just another great 70's song. The best music decade ever by far.
tamarak61
One of my all time favs also!
on my top 20 list of all time (seriously)
Love this song reminds me of my junior high days.
Loved this song, wish they played longer. reminds me of high school.
I wore my 33 1/3 out listning to How Long back in the day......Lov e it even more today.....
I was in High School and played it for my then boyfriend
srdzigns@gma i l . c o m / this is so special and alows me to feel alive musicaly
how do you not get that lump in your throat when you hear this
yeah 40 somethings!! ! cool tune.
How Long...has this been goin on? Is about a band-mate. That is good trivia.
guemond
Such a great song! Memories a flowin!
rersek
This song still sounds great. I remember seeing Ace open for Golden Earring at the Erlanger Theater in Philly sometime around May '74 (first real rock concert I ever saw, btw). Gear was really stripped down, and Paul Carrack had a Philly Flyers shirt on. Great concert.
m2325
Song reminds me of playing pool at LSU in '75
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