The band had competed in two National Battle of the Sounds competitions only to be relegated to second place behind the Groove and then Doug Parkinson In Focus, but ultimately Sitmar agreed that they deserved a free passage to the UK on the SS Fairsky and they departed for Swinging London in May 1970 to follow their dream. Jim Keays (vocals), Glenn Wheatley (bass), Doug Ford (guitar), and Colin Burgess (drums), took up residence in London, at 28 Durham Rd. North Harrow, they lacked funds, equipment, and new material, they were unprepared to succeed in what was the most competitive, dynamic, cliquey music market in the world, and like so many other Australian bands who had gone before them, they were destined to fail.Eventually they convinced EMI to record them at the legendary Studio One, Abbey Road with producer Jeff Jarratt and engineer Peter Brown whose previous credits included albums with the Beatles and Pink Floyd, recorded in that very same studio.Ford and Keays were maturing as songwriters and were impressed by the recent acoustic tracks on albums by Donovan (Mellow Yellow and Open Road), Van Morrison (Moon Dance and particularly Astral Weeks) and the Small Faces (Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake), and these influences would be reflected in their next album Choice Cuts (below) and what would become the seminal track and their most famous song – Because I Love You.Because I Love You is a tender love song, with a shifting tempo, ambience, and mood, the opening acoustic guitar refrain by Doug Ford is sensitive and affecting, Keays vocals are almost whisperly quiet to begin, then the rhythm section and backup singers build to the anthemic chorus “ooh, ooh, ooh!! do what you wanna do, be what you wanna be, yeah,” which is repeated so many times that most people think this is the title of the song. Paul McCartney’s famous white grand piano was played by Jeff Jarratt (below) during the recording session.Conceptually the song reflects the emotions of people living away from home, separated from their loved ones, just as the band were in London; Jim Keays first wife Vicki gave birth to their son James whilst he was in London, he found out via telegram. All the band members were dealing with the consequences of loneliness and separation and ultimately, as the chorus emphasizes, the need to do what is necessary to maintain your independence and survive. The song has become an endeared classic and perennial favorite, Choice Cuts was a #10 hit in Australia and remains the band’s most popular album, it was favorably reviewed by the UK musical press but by then the band had returned to Australia and weren’t able to promote it.
Because I Love You charted #15 locally, the promo video was shot by ex-pat Aussie, Tim Fisher, on a cold, misty, autumn morning on Hampstead Heath (London), with band members and unidentified partners intercut with footage of the group, performing the song at the Speakeasy Club in London. The clip has a melancholy feel which was heightened by the ghostly Hyde Park scenes, while the stage performance shots captured the more optimistic feelings of new horizons for the band, buoyed by their delight at the quality of the album that they had just recorded.
The band returned to Australia to re-commence touring to raise much-needed funds, they were almost bankrupt, the local scene had changed, pub rock was on the rise, radio programmers controlled playlists, they toured nationally for six months, often to small crowds in one-horse towns for small returns, they even went back to London to record again, and did record another album, A Toast To Panama Red, but by 1972 Glenn Wheatley had left to pursue a career in management with David Joseph, and Jim Keays had headed back to Adelaide, to kick start a solo career (see below)Because I Love You was revived in the 1980’s when used in a television commercial in 1988 and returned to the charts at #22, in 1998 the Masters’ Apprentices were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, along with the Angels, Jim Keays sadly passed away in 2014