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Album: Five-A-SideReleased: 1974Charted:
Many listeners believed that this was a love song. The truth is that is was about bass player Terry Comer working with other bands (he played briefly with The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver before returning to Ace). He didn't tell the members of Ace and they felt cheated.
Paul Carrack was the lead singer of Ace. He went on to sing for Squeeze and Mike And The Mechanics and had a solo hit with "Don't Shed a Tear
This was Ace's only hit. They broke up in 1977.
The bass introduction is borrowed from "Traveling Song" by the British folk rock group Pentangle.
When singer-songwriter Paul Carrack appeared on the BBC Breakfast news programme on June 29, 2009 he was asked about the inspiration for this song. Rather than being about a two-timing lover it was, he said, about another band who were "trying to nick our bass player".
"How Long?" was one of the first songs he ever wrote and remains one of his biggest hits. It was released on the Anchor label, copyright 1974, backed by "Sniffin' About", and produced by John Anthony for Neptune Productions. It has been recorded many times since. Terry Comer, the bass player a rival band were trying to "nick", returned in time to play on the original recording.