Friday, December 12, 2014

Parts of Speech: Because

Today we focus on another part of speech – the conjunction and specifically a subordinating conjunction – “Because.” Growing up in the 1960s, you will certainly remember the identity of the Mersey Beat that was used to describe the sound popularized by Liverpudlian groups such as The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and Rory Storm and The Hurricanes – well maybe not that last one, but you’d certainly remember their name, as Ringo Starr had been a member of The Hurricanes before becoming a Beatle.

How about the Tottenham Sound? To compete with Merseyside groups and their distinct sound, this subgenre of rock ‘n’ roll was named after the music from North London and the home area of The Dave Clark Five. When The DC5’s “Glad All Over” unseated The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at the top of the UK charts in early 1964, the media promoted a fictitious feud between The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five. There was no feud, but it was a bit of fun encouraging people to pick their favorite band. Additionally, there was no official Tottenham Sound either – this was another fabrication of the media at the time.

In the US, the decision over which group reigned supreme in the battle of the British Invasion never came to fruition, but The DC5 were popular enough with eight Top 10 hits. One of those, “Because,” was released in August 1964.

Initially, Epic Records did not want to release this ballad as a single because it was different than the band’s previous hits with a driving beat – the songs that had garnered their initial success on this side of the Atlantic. In addition, “Because” did not feature Denny Payton’s sax – an integral part of their hit sound.

Band leader and drummer Dave Clark felt differently and persuaded Epic to release “Because.” This was highly unusual, as The DC5’s UK label, Columbia EMI,” only issued the song as a flip side to “Can’t You See that She’s Mine.” There was no precedent for this single to be issued, but Epic acquiesced. Clark’s forecast was correct and Epic’s fears were unfounded, as “Because” did quite well in the US peaking at #3.

“Because” features the vocals of keyboardist Mike Smith. Although named The Dave Clark Five, the front man was Smith. Adding to the sound of this record was his keyboard lead. It was played on a Vox Continental combo organ.

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