If I was coerced into making a Top 10 list of most-beloved British Invasion songs, unquestionably making the cut is the Moody Blues achingly beautiful hit Go Now. Right up there with the Zombies' She's Not There in the pantheon of perfection, this was one of those stunning songs that stopped me dead in my preteen tracks whenever I heard it.
The original blues-infused Moodies of Go Now fame were lead vocalist and guitarist Denny Laine (who later co-founded Wings with Paul McCartney), bass guitarist Clint Warwick, flautist and percussionist Ray Thomas, keyboardist Mike Pinder and drummer Graeme Edge. This is not the Nights in White Satin Moody Blues!
This incarnation of the Moodies never had another hit of this magnitude, and Laine and Warwick quit in frustration, to be replaced by Justin Hayward and John Lodge (who are the Moody Blues of Nights in White Satin).
The big thrilling payoff for me today in writing about this is discovering that Go Now was a cover, originally recorded, also in 1964, by an American blues singer who it appears is still living, Bessie Banks, and produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
And here's her astonishing version of the song, with Cissy Houston on backing vocals. I found a page maintained by Corey Banks, the son of Bessie's former husband, Larry (who wrote Go Now with Milton Bennett) that goes into considerable detail on how her career was overshadowed after the Moody Blues charted with the song in the same time frame as her version was starting to get American airplay.
Along with affording an opportunity to learn about the other side of the coin, the site also offers a treasure trove of priceless audio clips of blues recordings written, produced, composed and arranged by Larry Banks. If you love blues, prepare to spend some time. My mind is blown.