Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Go Now

First recorded and released by Besse Banks (US #40 released January 1964).
Hit version by The Moody Blues (US #10/UK #1/CAN #2 released February 1964).
Also recorded by Wings (1976).

From the wiki: “‘Go Now’ is a song composed by Larry Banks and Milton Bennett, and first recorded by Banks’ former wife, Bessie Banks. A 1962 demo recording by Bessie of the song was heard by songwriters/record producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who, then, had Banks re-record it in late November 1963 (with Dee Dee Warwick among the background singers), and released in early 1964 on Leiber-Stoller’s Tiger label. Bank’s version reached #40 on the national singles charts.

“Banks remembers:

”Go Now’ was released in January 1964, and right away it was chosen Pick Hit of the Week on WINS Radio (New York City). That means your record is played for seven days. Four days went by, I was so thrilled [to hear it on the radio]. On day five, when I heard the it, I thought it was me, but all of a sudden, I realized it wasn’t.’

“The Moody Blues formed as a Birmingham, UK, beat group in May 1964, deriving their name from a hoped-for sponsorship from the M&B Brewery which failed to materialise (the band calling themselves both ‘The M Bs’ and ‘The M B Five’ and was also a subtle reference to the Duke Ellington song, ‘Mood Indigo’).

“Guitarist Denny Laine recalls that they first heard ‘Go Now’ when ‘it came in one of these suitcases full of records [we’d get] from America. This guy, James Hamilton, he was a friend of B. Mitchel Reed, who was a disc jockey at WMCA Radio, New York City, and he would send this stuff across.’ ‘Go Now’ was the Moody Blues’ second single; their first, ‘Lose Your Number’ went uncharted. ‘Go Now’ would top the UK chart in late-January 1965. It did not enter the American charts until mid-February 1965, and peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

The Moody Blues, “Go Now” (1964):

Wings, “Go Now” from Wings Over America (1976):