Tomorrow (May 4th) marks the 55th anniversary of The Moody Blues’ formation in Birmingham, England. Singer-guitarist Denny Laine left The Diplomats and joined up with Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick. Hoping to have a brewery called Mitchells & Butlers sponsor the group, they called themselves The M&B Five. Here is Graeme Edge and Mike Pinder on how The Moody Blues came up with their name.:26

GE: “They owned a lot of pubs down in Birmingham and so we were hoping that they would love the name and book us into those a lot, which of course they didn’t. And then we were stuck with the M and B as the initials.”

MP: “So I thought, ‘M&B’. One of my favorite things that had stuck with me was Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo,” you know, that piece of music, and I loved the name of it. So I said, ‘Mood, moody, moody, moody, moody blue. M&B. Blue. Moody Blues. Moody Blues Five.”

The initial line-up had success with their second single, a cover of the American R&B song “Go Now,” their only number-one in England. But that initial line-up didn’t last long — in mid-1966 Laine and Warwick were replaced by Justin Hayward and John Lodge. The reconstituted band found its footing in 1967 with Days of Future Passed, launching the career that landed them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

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