Before The Moody Blues recorded it, this was an obscure soul single for Bessie Banks, who released it in 1964. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller produced her recording, and it was written by her husband Larry Banks. It is a heart-rending song where the singer has just broken up with his lover, and can't bear to see her anymore.
This was The Moody Blues' second single, the first being the unsuccessful "Lose Your Money." Their next few releases did not fare as well and the lead singer on this track, Denny Laine, whose pained vocals added so much to the single, left the band to set up his own Electric String Band in 1966. He later joined forces with Paul McCartney in Wings.
The Moody Blues re-formed a short time later with new members Justin Hayward and John Lodge, who became the primary songwriters in the group.
Denny Laine recalled to Gibson.com how the band came to cover this song: "It came in one of these suitcases full of records from America. This guy, James Hamilton, he was a friend of B. Mitchel Reed, who was a DJ, and he would send this stuff across. So I picked that one out especially because Mike Pinder was a piano player. (chuckles) We'd always get the gig where the piano would be out of tune and we'd get the slow handclap because they were waiting to tune the piano… (laughs) Anyway, we did 'Go Now' because it was a song with a piano in it."
Bessie Banks' version of this song is featured in the 1995 film of the same name.
Suggestion credit: Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
As reported in The Independent, a 21-year-old Denny Cordell, who was working for an artist management company, placed this song with The Moody Blues, who were a new group looking for their first hit. Cordell convinced the band to sign an unusual business agreement that earned him £36,000 when the song became a hit. Cordell would later work with Joe Cocker, producing his version of "With A Little Help From My Friends" and organizing his first US tour. In the '70s, Cordell set up Shelter Records in Tulsa, Oklahoma with Leon Russell.
Sam from Sherman OaksI can’t 100% confirm this and in order to do that I would have to ask Mrs Bessie Banks herself since she is still alive regarding this song that her husband wrote for her but I was reading elsewhere online that at the time when this song was written, her and her husband Larry Banks were going through a seperation (and that would later turn into a divorce) and this song might have been written about that seperation that would later on turn into a divorce. It makes sense if you think about it since it is a breakup song. But i’m not 100% certain on that but it very well could be true.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 17th 1966, the Moody Blues performed "Go Now!" on the ABC-TV afternoon program 'Where The Action Is'... One year earlier on February 14th, 1965 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart... (See posts below).
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 12th 1965, the Moody Blues performed "Go Now!" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'... Three months earlier on February 17th, 1965 they performed it on their first guest appearance on 'Shindig!'... (See next post below).
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 17th, 1965 the Moody Blues performed "Go Now!" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'... Three days earlier on February 14th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart (See the next post below)... R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neill (Shindig's host, 1940 - 2012).
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 14th 1965, "Go Now!" by the Moody Blues entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #98; and on April 11th it peaked at #10 (for 1 week) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100... It reached #2 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart... Between the year 1965 and 1988 the group had eighteen Top 100 records; with three reaching the Top 10 and "Nights In White Satin" being their biggest hit (peaked at #2 for two weeks in 1972).
Martin from Fresno, CaIt is too bad Denny Laine left the group after this song was a hit. He has a great voice.
George Bono from Vineland, NjBeen a fan since Go Now to the present day. Want to know 1 thing, why are the Moody Blues not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Till then I shall always refer to it as the Hall of Shame, I mean Run DMC ? Really ? I thought it was Rock and Roll. Love to hear from other MB fan on their thoughts.
Lee from London, United KingdomFirst of all Denny Cordell did NOT produce 'Go Now' nor the video that came out with it. Alex Murray Wharton was the producer on the single 'Go Now' and the producer/director of the video. Denny Cordell produced the album 'The Magnificent Moodies'. And Justin Hayward did not perform 'Go Now', he came after that in the second Moody Blues.
Camille from Toronto, OhNever heard the Bessie Banks version, but will have to look it up as so many of you are impressed with it.
Camille from Toronto, OhFirst of all, I'm floored to learn that this song, which I have loved since 1965 when I was only about 8 years old, is sung by the Moody Blues! Here it is, 2012, and last night hubby & I heard it played on the car radio. We immediately began singing to it. I wondered who sang it, I would have thought maybe Peter and Gordon or Jerry and the Pacemakers or something. I always thought the Moody Blues began when their Nights in White Satin music came out. Okay, the reason I think this song transcends so well decade after decade IS because of the piano! Those leading few words: "we've already said......." then you hear the piano...and then "......goodbye". That just makes its mark right at the start. Oh, the voices are a perfect blend. And once again, here is a song that expresses a sentiment that the majority of people have felt at one time or another, so it's a song that's very relatable.
Gary from Scarsdale, NyI too worked with Larry at the JFK Post Office but it was earlier in 1972 0r 73 in a section called "air other". I was only 18, I wish I could have gotten to know him better, he seemed like a great guy. GL, Queens NY
Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaI LOVE THIS SONG!!!! It sounds so raw and grainy, the way ALL music should be
Dave from Des Moines, IaThe Moody Blues never cease to amaze me. I love their later releases but there is something so haunting about this song that it sends me into chills. This one and Nights in White Satin Both. I love to listen to either at any time, but both are particularly theraputic after a really stressful day.
Isaac from San Francisco, CaI'll second Lyn of Toowoombia, Australia. Nothing vs. the Moody version but when you hear Bessie Banks sing it you know that losing her true love is really the WORST thing that can ever happen to her. It's a real soul song.
Richard from Sydney, AustraliaThere is a great clip on You Tube of the Moody Blues singing Go Now in 1965. There is a stage version and an artistic version. Both are lip synched which means the sound is accurate. The artisitic version is phenomenal. It ranks against any modern video clip and is way ahead of its time. All band members line up in semi-shadow and sing with a superimposed girl in the background bottom left. Unbelievable for that era, or any era!
Blue from Prunedale, CaAn interview on the BBC's Royality of Rock with drummer Graeme Edge revealed more of the history of how the band come upon this song. They had singed with a company called Seltaeb (Beatles spelled backwards.) Given a stack of singles to choose from they chose "Go Now." as the best.
Bessie Banks of course had success with this song in America a year earlier. The Seattle singer was joined on the record by her husband who played piano on it as well as having written the song. IT was written as a push to her career. However the major success on the part of the Moodies with the song, was not a boon to her career. She continued to work but never found the same success as she was reaching before the band recorded "Go Now." She did achieve a following of sorts in 1876 in England with the release of "The Best Is Yet To Come" Rock historians however encourage people to find the orginal. She recorded a single with the late Linda Jones that featured Go Now On the flip side.
Denny Laine was recently on a program produced for PBS called My Music: The British Invasion, and performed "Go Now". A number of PBS watching die hard Moody fans were disappointed with the presentation of the song, claiming to many flash backs to the band singing it were shown and that Laine lip synched. (I myself was not among them, I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to see it.)
Meredith from Mason City, IaOne of the best songs of the British Invasion. Sounds primal, mod, Bacharach- all at the same time.
Joseph from North Bellmore, NyMay 21 1976 Nassau Collesium. An off-key Denny Laine sang this beautiful song badly.
Joseph from North Bellmore, Ny I worked with Larry Banks back in 1979 at JFK airport. He was a nice Afro-American man who worked in the registered mail section at the airport post office. He then lived in St. Albans Queens N.Y. When Paul McCartney and Wings toured America and cut the live double album Wings Across America, McCartney included Denny Laines live version on the album. Well guess who didn't get PAID? That's right, Larry Banks. Well little fashionable Larry got a good lawyer and rumor had it he got a big enough settlement that he quit the post office and I never saw him again. My last memory of him was that big smile when he told me what a BIG seller that Wings album was and that he expected a nice payday. I hope the rumors were true Larry. -Joe M. JFK Airport
Dennis from Anchorage, AkDenny Laine knew Paul McCartney because the Moodies opened for the Beatles on a couple of their tours. Lennon also loved them because they were so funny, despite the fact that their music is generally rather somber.
I saw them in concert in 1979, sadly without Mike Pinder who left the group after recording the "Octave" album (actually, WHILE recording the album, which is one reason there's so much outside orchestra on it). They don't put on a big visual show because their performances are all about the music. They were amazing - clean, professional, beautifully balanced, except that Pat Moraz, who replaced Pinder, was trying to put on this crazy rock show while the rest of the band just wanted to play their music faithfully. I was delighted when they finally fired him. He had a bad influence on their sound through the eighties.
Ken from Louisville, KyDuring Wings mid-1970's tours, Paul McCartney started incorporating some Beatles songs, because fans were demanding it. To be fair, he allowed Denny Laine to sing the one and only hit song HE had with another group - "Go Now!".
Billie from Stuttgart, GermanyWhat a difference in experience I have had compared to Dee in Salt Lake. I was working at a large FM station in the early 1980's when the Moody Blues were touring again. Most of us from the station went to the show and all sat in some box seats together. The Moody Blues were fantastic - strong, perfect, consumate, and clear. We loved every minute of it and the band proved they were real pros.
Dee from Salt Lake City, UtMoody Blues were one of my top fave bands in the '60's----then I saw them in concert. What a let-down! The stageing was nothing like their music. I learned at a tender age that few bands could match showmanship with true musical talent. I still love listening to them and am amazed one of the great 'unknown' soul sisters was the originator of this tune, 'Go Down'. If you love soul, get some Irma Thomas (newly recording and performing after a 30 year hiatus) or Betty Harris. Glad to find a site for real music buffs! Who knows what treasures I may discover from even more ardent fans! Big D
Lyn from Toowoomba, AustraliaNothing at all against The Moody Blues' version, I still love it, but the original by Bessie Banks is a stunning record, a masterpiece in my opinion. Bessie's husband Larry co-wrote it, with Milton Bennett. It's on Vol. 2 of Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures CD. On Vol. 1 there is another wonderful song, 'Showdown', by Kenny Carter, also written by Larry Banks and Milton Bennett, a song that Dave Godin says was especially written for the Moody Blues as a follow-up to 'Go Now' but they declined it.
Christine from Wellington, New ZealandOh what an awesome song! Sorry, I have nothing to add, except that,even in 2005 - like 30 years later, it doesn't sound dated. Well done Justin Hsyward, and the rest of the guys.