A Long December

Album: Recovering The Satellites (1996)
Charted: 62
Play Video


  • During the taping of a VH1 Storytellers performance, lead singer Adam Duritz talked about the song: "In the middle of December of '95 my friend Jennifer got run over by a car, just creamed. And I spent that whole month, while we were just beginning the record and most of January and February in the hospital. Each morning and early afternoon then I'd go to the studio, the house where we were recording, and we'd play all afternoon and all night.

    It was a very weird time because there is a lot of stress, not that it's a big deal being a second album, but any album. They're just not that easy to make. It's a very stressful process, especially when you're first starting out. I spent a lot of time in the hospital which is pretty weird. But one day I just left the studio about 2 in the morning, and I went to my friend Samantha and Tracy's house which is Hillside Manor, that's what we call it anyway, it's just a little house and I sat there talking with them. I woke them up, got them out of bed and made them talk to me for a couple hours, then I went home to my house. I wrote this song between about 4 and 6 and then went to the hospital the next day, and came to the house and I played it for the guys before dinner and taught it to them after dinner.

    We played it about six or seven times. It was take number six. We just stopped, that was it. We recorded the song, it was done. We all went into the kitchen and had a cold beer, I grabbed Brad our engineer and ran back out about five minutes later, had him play the tape three times, just recorded all the harmonies, and we've never touched it since, that was it. It's a completely live song except for the harmonies.

    It's a song about looking back on your life and seeing changes happening, and for once for me, looking forward and thinking, ya know, things are gonna change for the better - 'maybe this year will be better than the last.' And so, like a lot of songs on the end of an album it's not about everything turning out great, but it at least it is about hope... and the possibilities." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Scott - Memphis, TN
  • Courteney Cox, who was starring in Friends at the time, is the girl in the video (not her first - she was in Bruce Springsteen's video for "Dancing In The Dark" and Toad the Wet Sprocket's "Good Intentions"). She and Adam Duritz met on the set and dated for a while. Duritz, dated Cox' Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston in 1995.
  • Lawrence Carroll directed the video, which finds Duritz playing a grand piano in the woods and does some serious longing. Carroll used many of the same elements - words scrawled on walls, cutaways to pretty girl looking plaintive - in the Collective Soul video for "Precious Declaration."

Comments: 24

  • Paul S. from Pittsburgh, Pa.I used to think when he said the part about 'going up to hillside manor after 2 am to talk a little while about the year' that he meant he went to a 12 step meeting which are sometimes candlelight gratitude meetings and are often held 24 hours around the holidays and at such times of year with the topic being 'gratitude.' People talk about the year and try to find some good in it. So I was wrong but it still fits for me and the mood of the song is just right for my personal interpretation... I relate to all the comments here; last year around the holidays I lost my older brother and 3 other people who played major parts in my family and/or my extended family, all of unrelated causes and in different parts of the country, and a few years prior also in December my mother died, so it felt to me like death was following me... it was a very bleak December last year - my 2 sisters, my daughter and my granddaughter are all December/January birthdays (Capricorns, all of them) and it was always the birthday/holiday time of year but not anymore.
  • Sara from Union City, TnThis song is awesome! So haunting...I never get tired of hearing it.
  • C. from Georgetown, KyWhen my mother had a stroke in December 1996, I went to stay with her for 3 weeks, including over Christmas to help her with her recovery. That was the last Christmas she was alive, I was so glad to be able to spend it with her. I also had serious problems in my marriage at the same time. I had just heard "A Long December" for the first time while staying with her. The title alone really described what I was feeling, and parts of the song seemed to tie in with other things going on in my life at that time, at least in my mind. Of course the song has different meanings for different people, but 16 years later, I still get teary eyed every time I hear it. Still love, love this song.
  • Terry from Grafon, WiThe lyrics in this song are nothing short of magical. I was 15 when this song came out...have been a Crows fan since their first album in '93. I remember the first time I heard this song on the radio....it was cold and it was December. I was going through your typical 15 year old drama, I like this boy I don't know if he likes me, etc. It felt like that month took forever. Eventually said boy and I started dating, but it always reminds me of simpler times when the worst problems that you have is 15 year old crap. Hindsight, I now realize that it's not what the song was about at all. To me, it symbolizes me being younger and thinking that the world should stop for your problems, when it never really does.
  • Will from Toronto, OnI always thought this song had suicidal undertones, I was wrong. I love it, sad but hopeful. Especially today, New Year's Eve.
  • Gus from Fort Smith, ArCompletely unrelated and absolutely by coincidence, this song was playing overhead at the airport the day my brother left to go Iraq for the last time. It still punches me in the chest when I hear it.
  • Murray from Sydney, AustraliaI bought Recovering The Satellites when I was living in Portugal in 1996. It was December and I was alone and a long way from home and struggling with a lot of things - then I listened to A Long December and things changed...1997 was the single best year of my life and I'll happily admit that listening to Counting Crows in that place at that time affected my life for the better
  • Mama from Sims, NcCounting Crows changed my entire life. In the summer of 1994 I was in such a bad place in life and just had no ambition at all to go on and i was just walking along a road that ran along side an airport on Cape Cod, listening to August and Everything After and when I heard Around Here it just gave me this feeling of peace. I named my son after Adam. Adam's ten and loves the Crows too!
  • Kylee from Hartford, CtI just saw Counting Crows last night along with Sara Bareilles and Maroon 5 and they were absolutely amazing. At first, I was somewhat disappointed that Mr. Jones and Big Yellow Taxi was not included in their set, but then they played "A Long December" and I was not disappointed anymore. What an amazing song and knowing the story behind the song makes it so much personal.
  • Joel from Baltimore, MdGood song. You probably already know this but Courtney Cox from Friends is in the video.
  • Randy from Dallas, TxI love this song it is so awesome...I wish I could play it. Raining in Baltimore is my favorite though.
  • Hank from Tampa, FlYea, about that whole over rated thing. Just to let you know, it's not possible for the Counting Crows to be overated. I could understand if they were winning award after award and didn't sell any albums but they do, and they sell out tours all over the place. Just because you are too dull to have an appreciation for the music they make doesn't make them over rated.
  • Jessica from Blmtn, InI love this song and it's absolutley one of their best besides their other songs are great too. I got hooked when they came to IU in 2002 for a concert. Adam does a very good job on this song and it's very well written. It's very emotional. They are so not overrated. COUNTING CROWS ROCK!!!!!
  • Alex from Mclean, VaFirst of all...the name of this song is "A Long December", not "Long December"...that makes it kind of difficult to find...
    Secondly, steph, it's not a good idea to post negative comments for bands you don't even like, just keep thoughts like that to yourself next time. Also, if you're going to insult a band we all love, at least make a proper argument, don't just say "they sucked, this song is boringest!!"
    Fantastic song by the way, but not as good as Anna Begins or Round Here, in my opinion.
  • Carina from St.petersburg, Flhey steph...shut up!! This is one of those songs that brings me to the edge of tears whenever I hear it- it has an individual beautiful meaning to each person and thats what makes it so amazing.
  • Nicole from Derby, EnglandCourtney cox *was* once adams girlfriend, but he now hates her and wont acknowledge her on his songs. she actually wrote "barely out of tuesday" which they perform live.
    i think this is a great song and it always makes me cry
  • Michael from Montreal,que., CanadaMr.Jones brought them commercial success but Long December brought them credibility. Bring back the singer songwriters....this song will be remembered. Duritz sings this song with such emotion you can't help but love it.Listen to it again.
  • Axel from Las Vegas, NvI love this song so much, and the video is great too. I like Courtney Cox Arquette in it, plus it's just really well made. Most likly my favorite Counting Crows song, next to Colorblind.
  • Zoey from Athens , AlThis is one of the best songs ever written. It completely touches my heart ... I love it.
  • Angela West from Tomball, TxThis song always brings me comfort knowing that something better will be around soon! Most of their songs have great lyrics & always a great rhythem! Does anyone know the story about the song "Round Here"? Please don't let it be about heroine!!!
  • Kate from San Diego, United Statesi think they are such an amazaing band, their songs read like poetry
    you can tell adams a writer

    i cant believe round here hasnt been commented on
  • Steph from Ottawa, CanadaThe Counting Crows were one of the most overrated bands of the '90's, or any other decade, for that matter! They sucked, their songs sucked, and this song was the boringest of them all! Though it did spawn a spoof song titled 'Longest Member', which was quite funny, if I remember correctly.
  • Jordan from Kissimmee, FlQuite possibly the most beautiful song ever written.
  • Kei from Salem, OrThis has always been my favorite Counting Crows song. When I was 18, and hundreds of miles from home, I heard this song on the radio and it helped me feel like I wasn't so alone. Ever since, this has been my "all right, lived through worse, not gonna die from this song". Life goes on, so do I, and so does this song.
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