If the real secret of success in Rock & Roll lies in choosing the right name, then Ace very nearly came a cropper. When rhythm guitarist Alan ‘Bam’ King (a former member of legendary mod band The Action) first teamed up with lead guitarist Phil Harris, they called themselves Clat Thyger – and died a death.
Then, in December 1972, they recruited Terry ‘Tex’ Comer on bass and Paul Carrack on keyboards and changed their name, first to Ace Flash and The Dynamos and then, finally, just to Ace.
Adopting a tightly-focused blend of feel and funk which aligned them more with US bands of the era such as Little Feat and Steely Dan, Ace swiftly cut their way through the Pub Rock circuit, signed to Anchor Records and, with former Bees Make Honey Fran Byrne on drums, came up with Carrack’s composition How Long?
It was Pub Rock’s only true international hit single, which made #20 in the UK in November 1974 and subsequently spent 11 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at #3 in May the following year.
The band effectively moved to the US, but after a total of three albums they returned to England and split up, leaving Paul Carrack free to join first Roxy Music and then Squeeze (replacing Jools Holland) for their sublime East Side Story album, and the classic single, Tempted – before becoming a key member of Mike and The Mechanics, as well as developing his own solo career.
Alan ‘Bam’ King
Terry ‘Tex’ Comer
Jon ‘Woody’ Woodhead