Hmm. Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, another also-ran in the great glut of quasi-psychedelic pop bands that were flooding England, had a minor hit with 1965’s “Mirror, Mirror”. Then, absent further chart success, they retooled themselves as The Flying Machine and eventually had another hit with “Smile A Little Smile For Me” in 1969.
So, are they a two-hit wonder or a one-hit wonder twice over? Rather, at what point does a band materially change into a new entity, regardless of the name on the label? Because this may compound some preexisting issues I have with Mike Love. For the time being, I like to think of these guys as ill-fated, or at least unable to think of another odd name and take another stab at success.
Songwriting duo Tony Macaulay and Geoff Stephens penned “Smile A Little Smile For Me”. Stephens is a songwriter of note, but it’s Macaulay’s songs that still get major play on oldies radio, chief among them in my book the Foundations’ “Build Me Up, Buttercup” and “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You”. And though “Smile A Little Smile For Me” is a fairly limp tune, it’s still hummable enough, and The Flying Machine have a good spin with it.
This version of the song is the stereo album mix. I usually prefer mono myself, but this mix appends about three seconds’ worth of fuzzy keyboard kanoodling at the beginning, which for some reason makes the song much better for me. Actually, except for Sam Kempe’s occassionally fey, strangled vocals, it’s a nearly flawless AM radio gem. Hard-targeted to teenage girls, but whatever.