One of my favorite songs of the British Invasion era was “Go Now” by The Moody Blues. After buying the single, I remember looking for quite awhile before finding a copy of their first album. The album was originally released in England under the title, The Magnificent Moodies but was restructured for release in The United States under the name Go Now – The Moody Blues #1.
The Moody Blues began as a typical rhythm & blues band playing mostly cover songs. All the group members had had experience in various bands. Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder were members of El Riot & The Rebels who opened for The Beatles on a number of occasions. Denny Laine was the lead guitarist and vocalist for The Diplomats. Graeme Edge was drumming for The Avengers. Bassist Carl Warwick was playing with The Rainbows. By 1964 they had all joined together to form The Moody Blues.
Laine and piano player Pinder were writing songs together and four of their original compositions would appear on their first album but it was their cover of the obscure R & B song “Go Now” that would propel them to their initial success. The song would hit number one in England and reach the top ten in The United States. It was an exceptional vocal performance by Laine who would continue to perform the song live as a member of Paul McCartney’s Wings later in his career. A Laine-Pinder original, “From The Bottom Of My Heart,” was almost as good. It had a nice blues feel but ultimately failed as a follow-up single.
The best of the rest would be a fine Thomas lead vocal on the Gershwin song. “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and some creative piano playing by Pinder on “It’s Easy Child.” The rest of the release was typical fare of the times as they filled out the album with cover songs and a few originals similar to the early releases by The Rolling Stones. There was nothing offensive but neither does it rise much above the ordinary.
Go Now – The Moody Blues #1was a promising debut by the group. It showed an ability to fuse rock and blues and hinted at a successful career. Their career would be far more successful than they could have imagined but not in the way they might have guessed at the time.