The Dave Clark Five’s recording career overlapped neatly with that of the Beatles, and while they didn’t have the genius or the savvy to evolve in any radical or especially satisfying sense over the course of their 12 American albums, the formula they employed for most of their hit singles was an exciting and distinctive one. A heavy drum stomp and blasts of saxophone set the DC5 apart from other prominent British Invasion acts, and blaring early records like “Glad All Over,” “Catch Us If You Can,” and “Having a Wild Weekend” whip up a teenybop frenzy like nobody’s biz. Check out one of their best-of LPs; this is one of those bands where, as the record plays, you realize you already know pretty much all of the songs from oldies radio. So good work, Dave Clark Five, even if there are whispers going ’round about who actually did or didn’t write what, and who actually did or didn’t play what, and who actually did or didn’t get paid for what! But never mind all that for now.
“Because,” from the American Tour album, shows that the business-minded Dave Clark wasn’t just a master at (allegedly) screwing his songwriting buddies out of great rock ’n’ roll songs, he could also (allegedly) screw ’em out of great ballads, as well. This sensitive, for-luvbirds-only number is the “If I Fell” to the band’s usual “She Loves You” fare, and even features the string-soaked, soundtracky instrumental “Theme Without a Name” (recycled from the …Return LP) on the B-side to further please parents everywhere. Naturally – OK, deservedly – it was a big hit (and there is a nice snap to the drum-sound), but I’ve always felt that “Because” would sit more comfortably in the Peter & Gordon catalog than it does alongside the DC5’s heavy-pop bread-n-butter, as it’s of a piece with Brit Invasion ballads like “World Without Love.” And while that’s fine, and I can’t fault the band for displaying another facet, it’s just not what I’m looking for when I buy a Dave Clark Five record… gimme the beat and the shouting and the loudness!