I hopped on the Waterboys train in the mid-80s, entranced by “The Big Music” © of This Is The Sea. Coming from my own personal affiliation with the celtic rock sounds of the time (U2, Simple Minds, Big Country, et al) it seemed a logical step to hook up with them. The big (huge!) guitar sound, the spiritual undertow, what was not to like?
Well Mike Scott (leader of the band) was obviously finding that sound and the expectations that were going with the success all a bit much, and threw a huge curveball by relocating to Dublin just at the point when the band were about to embrace stadium rock-ness, throwing himself into the sounds of traditional Irish music, folk, country, blues. The eventual official record of that time was the wonderful “Fisherman’s Blues” album, although that was very much a tip-of-the-iceberg syndrome – two subsequent albums of additional recordings from that time have already been released (Too Close To Heaven, and a bonus disc with the remastered original album), and this autumn sees a mammoth 7-CD, 121 track box set and a tour of the album. Excited? You bet!
“Room To Roam“, the follow-up to “Fisherman’s Blues”, saw the band throwing themselves further and deeper into the Ireland, even to the extent of relocating to the Spiddal on the west coast (where the second side of Fisherman’s Blues was recorded, and immortalised on its cover), and it is from that album that this song is taken.
As an aside, and showing that a good song is a good song regardless of who is singing it, Ellie Goulding has recently released a version of the song to feature in the new Richard Curtis film “About Time“. It’s a really nice version, see what you think?
There’s nothing complicated about How Long Will I Love You?, either lyrically or musically. And it is certainly that straightforwardness that makes it all the more effective. Seven short verses, each prefaced withe the “How Long Will I Love You?” question, each responded to with an unambiguous declaration of undying love, many comparing that love to enduring nature and the elements. The Room To Road recording is a full-on band take, a real folk-rock hybrid. But this song – for me, at least – really works in a stripped down form.
The chords (see link below) are very straightforward (there’s only four of them!). The one thing the chord sheet doesn’t show is that there is a little two-beat bar after each chorus – listen to the recording and you’ll see what I mean. Also note that the chords are a tone lower than the recording, on account of it being easier for me to sing. The recording is in G, so if you want to play along to the recording then rather than Bb, C, F and Gm, the chords are C, D, G and Am respectively. Enjoy!