The Flying Machine (band)

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The Flying Machine
OriginRugby, Warwickshire, England
GenresBubblegum pop
Years active1969–1971
LabelsPye Records (UK)
Congress (US)
Janus (US)
Past membersTony Newman
Steve Jones
Sam Kempe
Stuart Colman
Paul Wilkinson
Troy Adam Jones

The Flying Machine were a British bubblegum pop[1] band who are best known for their 1969 American No. 5 hit, "Smile a Little Smile for Me".[2]


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,[3] 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.[4]

They are best known for their single in 1969, "Smile a Little Smile for Me", which peaked at No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart (on Kapp Records' Congress record label) It also reached No. 6 on the AC chart. Their first LP, which was self-titled, was released by Janus Records in 1969. By 12 December that year the single had sold a million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A.[5] The song was written by Tony Macaulay and Geoff Stephens.[6] Despite being released by Pye Records in the band's native UK, the record did not appear on the UK Singles Chart.

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.[7] A final single, "The Devil Has Possession Of Your Mind", was released, after which the Flying Machine split up.

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[5]
  • Mark Lansing (born 1952, USA) - guitars, sideman courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, 1969
  • Troy Adam Jones (birth year unknown) - guitarist, backup drummer



  • 1969: The Flying Machine (Janus)
  • 1970: Down to Earth with the Flying Machine (Pye)[4]
  • 1998: Flight Recorder - From Pinkerton's (Assort.) Colours to the Flying Machine (double CD compilation album on Sequel Records)


  • 1969: "Smile a Little Smile for Me" b/w "Maybe We've Been Loving Too Long" - No. 5 U.S.
  • 1969: "Baby Make It Soon" b/w "There She Goes" - No. 87 U.S.
  • 1969: "Send My Baby Home Again" b/w "Look At Me Look At Me"
  • 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"[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Top 11 Bubblegum Pop Songs".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Top Records of 1969" (PDF). Billboard. Cincinnat, Ohio: Billboard Publications, Inc. 27 December 1969. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Call Up The Groups Pinks". Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Flying Machine - Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 259. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  6. ^ "Smile a Little Smile for Me - Flying Machine - Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X

External links[edit]