The Flying Machine (band)

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This article is about the British band. For the American band, see James Taylor#1966–1969: Early career.
The Flying Machine
Origin Rugby, Warwickshire, England
Genres Pop
Years active 1969–1971
Labels Pye Records (UK)
Congress (US)
Janus (US)
Associated acts Pinkerton's Assorted Colours
Past members Tony Newman
Steve Jones
Sam Kempe
Stuart Colman
Paul Wilkinson
Troy Adam Jones

The Flying Machine was a British pop band who are perhaps best-known for their 1969 American #5 hit, "Smile a Little Smile for Me" (and is not to be confused with the American band of a similar name, The Flying Machine, with James Taylor).


The Flying Machine first rose out of the ashes of British band Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. Pinkerton's (as they were often known, for short) had scored a major UK hit with "Mirror Mirror" in 1966 and continued recording over the next few years. However, by 1969, singer/guitarist Tony Newman, singer/autoharpist/original frontman Sam Kempe,[1] and bassist Stuart Colman from Pinkerton's had teamed up with lead guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Wilkinson to form a new iteration of the group and, with Newman now assuming lead vocal/frontman duties, took the name The Flying Machine.

They are best known for their major hit single in 1969, "Smile a Little Smile For Me", which peaked at number 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart (on Kapp Records' Congress record label) Their first record which was self-titled was released by Janus Records in 1969. By 12 December that year they had sold a million copies of the record, and it was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A.[2] The song was written by Tony Macaulay and Geoff Stephens. Despite originating from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the record had no presence at all on the UK Singles Chart, despite its initial release there on Pye Records.

A follow-up single, a cover version of "Baby Make It Soon", first recorded by Marmalade, achieved the U.S. Hot 100 the following year, but the group reportedly grew frustrated with their pop-oriented style. A final single, "The Devil Has Possession Of Your Mind", suggested a change of direction, but the Flying Machine split up following its release.

Bassist Colman went on to a successful career as a session musician, record producer and BBC Radio disc jockey.

Band members[edit]

Ancillary members[edit]

  • Edie Andrews (born 1945, Detroit, Michigan) – background vocals[2]
  • Mark Lansing (born 1952, USA) - guitars, sideman courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, 1969
  • Troy Adam Jones (birth year unknown) - guitarist, backup drummer



  • 1969: "Baby Make It Soon" b/w "Smile A Little Smile For Me"
  • 1969: "Send My Baby Home Again" b/w "Look At Me Look At Me"
  • 1969: "Smile a Little Smile For Me" - #5 U.S.
  • 1970: "Hanging On The Edge Of Sadness" b/w "Flying Machine"
  • 1970: "The Devil Has Possession Of Your Mind" b/w "Hey Little Girl"
  • 1970: "Yes I Understand" b/w "Pages Of Your Life"


  • 1969: The Flying Machine (Janus)
  • 1970: Down To Earth With The Flying Machine (Pye)
  • 1998: Flight Recorder - From Pinkerton's (Assort.) Colours to The Flying Machine (Double CD compilation album on Sequel Records)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Call Up The Groups Pinks". Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  2. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 259. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 

External links[edit]