Bessie Banks version
|Single by Bessie Banks|
|B-side||It Sounds Like My Baby|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Genre||R&B, soul, blues|
|Writer(s)||Larry Banks, Milton Bennett|
|Producer||Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller|
The song was first recorded by Larry Banks' former wife, Bessie Banks. A 1962 demo recording by Bessie of the song was heard by songwriters and record producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who re-recorded it and first released it in early 1964 on their Tiger label, and later reissued it on the Blue Cat label, the R&B/soul imprint of Red Bird. Her version reached number forty on the Cashbox R&B singles chart.
Bessie Banks later commented:
"'I remember 1963 Kennedy was assassinated; it was announced over the radio. At the time, I was rehearsing in the office of Leiber and Stoller. We called it a day. Everyone was in tears. "Come back next week and we will be ready to record 'Go Now'"; and we did so. I was happy and excited that maybe this time I’ll make it. 'Go Now' was released in January 1964, and right away it was chosen Pick Hit of the Week on W.I.N.S. Radio. That means your record is played for seven days. Four days went by, I was so thrilled. On day five, when I heard the first line, I thought it was me, but all of a sudden, I realized it wasn’t. At the end of the song it was announced, "The Moody Blues singing 'Go Now'." I was too out-done. This was the time of the English Invasion and the end of Bessie Banks’ career, so I thought. America's DJs had stopped promoting American artists."
The Moody Blues version
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2013)|
|Single by The Moody Blues|
|from the album The Magnificent Moodies|
|B-side||"It's Easy Child" (United Kingdom)
"Lose Your Money" (United States)
|Label||Decca Records (UK)
London Records (U.S.)
|Writer(s)||Larry Banks, Milton Bennett|
|The Moody Blues singles chronology|
"Go Now" was made popular internationally later in 1964 when an English beat group from Birmingham named The Moody Blues recorded it, with Denny Laine on guitar and lead vocals. When Denny Laine first heard Bessie Banks's version, he immediately told the rest of the band that they needed to record the song. The song reached number one in the UK in late-January 1965 In the US, "Go Now" did not enter the American charts until mid-February 1965, and peaked at number ten on the Hot 100  A short film clip used to promote the single used a striking visual style that pre-dated Queen's similar "Bohemian Rhapsody" video by a full decade.
Laine continued to perform the song in concert during his years in Wings, and it is included in the group's Wings over America live album. He also sang the song at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 raising money for the local children's hospital.
The Moody Blues had little success with singles after "Go Now" in the mid-1960s, which led to Laine's departure from the band, later being replaced by Justin Hayward. Bassist Clint Warwick had also departed the band at this time, and he was immediately replaced by John Lodge. With the new lineup, The Moody Blues continued to perform "Go Now" for a short time, up until they began writing their own material. Hayward sang the song during his first year with the band, and Ray Thomas attempted to sing it a couple of times himself.
In contrast to other songs from their debut album The Magnificent Moodies, "Go Now" contained many early elements of what later would become progressive rock, such as the lush instrumentation, the innovative variations of the Fifties Progression, as well as strong baroque elements that would later become hallmarks of prog rock.
At the time the single was released it was being promoted on TV with one of the first purpose-made promotional films in the pop era (produced and directed by their co-manager Alex Wharton), very much before The Beatles did with the promotional films of their singles "Rain" and "Paperback Writer", both released on 1966.
On June 21, 22, and 23, 1976, at The Forum in Inglewood, CA, Laine performed "Go Now" with the band Wings accompanying himself on piano, along with Paul McCartney on bass and vocals, Linda McCartney on vocals, Jimmy McCullough on lead guitar and Joe English on drums. This version of "Go Now" appears on the Wings Over America live album.
In January 1997, "Go Now" was released on The Very Best of the Moody Blues; its release on this album was the first time it had been released on a Moody Blues compilation album. "Go Now" was also released on the subsequent Moody Blues' two-disc compilation album Anthology.
"Go Now" was performed by Denny Laine with The Fab Faux on December 11, 2010 at Terminal 5 in New York City and February 26, 2011 at the State Theatre in Easton, PA.
- Denny Laine: guitar, Lead vocal
- Clint Warwick: bass guitar, backing vocal
- Mike Pinder: piano, backing vocal
- Ray Thomas: tambourine, backing vocal,
- Graeme Edge: drums, percussion, backing vocal
It was recorded by David Cassidy on his 1972 album Rock Me Baby.
The song is also in the musical Return to the Forbidden Planet.
Song in popular culture
- The original Bessie Banks version of "Go Now" was included on the soundtrack to the film Stonewall.
- Ady Croasdell, Sleevenotes for Larry Banks' Soul Family Album, on Corey Banks website
- Jay Warner, American Singing Groups: a history from 1940s to today, p.204
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 45.
- "List of number-one singles from the 1960s (UK )". Wikipedia.
- "The Moody Blues Album & Song Chart History". Billboard.com.
- Moody Blues: Classic Artists (2006) (Directed by Jon Brewer)
- "Moody Blues | The Very Best of The Moody Blues". moodybluestoday.com (Official Fan Site).
- "Moody Blues | Anthology". moodybluestoday.com (Official Fan Site).
- "Performs the Hits of Wings". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- The Moody Blues: Go Now! at Discogs (list of releases)
- The promotional film of "Go Now"
- Review of 'Go Now'