The band started as the M&B Five, named after a brewery in Birmingham, England called Mitchell and Butler, which sponsored the band. When the group outgrew pub dates, they changed the name to The Moody Blues, "moody" because that was their image (dark clothing, never smiling), and "blues" because that was their style of music. Both the moody and blues monikers became irrelevant once they released their 1967 Days of Future Passed album, but they were stuck with the name.
Pinder and Thomas began as members of El Riot and the Rebels. Laine was in Denny Laine and the Diplomats, whose drummer was future ELO member Bev Bevan. Edge was in Gerry Levene and the Avengers with another future ELOer, Roy Wood.
After his departure from the band, Laine became a member of Paul McCartney's Wings.
Thomas found Hayward by sifting through responses to an ad posted by Eric Burdon, who was looking for a new Animals lineup.
They established their own label, Threshold, as a subsidiary of Decca in 1969. They proceeded to sign various acts that you've probably never heard of such as Trapeze, Tymon, Providence and Nicky James. As a result, Threshold contrived to not make much money.
Moraz had been a member of Refugee and Yes before his work with the Moody Blues.
They began as a R&B band, part of the British Invasion. Once they began using a Mellotron, they developed their signature sound.
They appeared on an episode of The Simpsons that was set in Las Vegas. (thanks, Tom - Trowbridge, England)
The Moody Blues were the only band to regularly use a Mellotron (an early sort of synthesizer that used tape loops instead of electronic tone generators) in concerts. They could do this because Mike Pinder had worked for the company that had invented it, and he knew its workings so well. (thanks, Dennis - Anchorage, AK)
With the exception of a few years in the mid-1970s, the Moody Blues have toured and recorded since 1964. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
The band started a chain of Threshold record shops in the UK. At one time there was a dozen throughout the country but by 1990 only the one in Cobham remained. Justin Hayward
recalled to Q
magazine in 1990: "We worked on the principle that the shops would be stocked with real turn-on kind of records, turn the general public on to great music, and we had booths where you could go and listen to the records. But people would come and listen to the records and then go down the street and buy them a quid cheaper at Woolworth's. That's where our whole plan broke down..."