Formerly The Liberators, Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours hailed from Rugby and took their debut single Mirror Mirror to #9 in 1966.
Unfortunately, their follow-up disc (Don’t Stop Loving Me Baby) stalled at #50 for one week. Four subsequent singles between 1966 and 1968 did not trouble the charts at all.
All their recordings shimmered with the amplified autoharp of Sam ‘Pinkerton’ Kempe and, although The Downliners Sect had used one occasionally, it was this innovation that was the group’s main contribution to the rich tapestry of British Beat music.
Despite their outlandish name, garish suits and publicity stunts such as pouring red dye in the fountains at Trafalgar Square, their success was limited.
In 1969 they re-formed as The Flying Machine and had a Top 10 hit in the USA with Smile A Little Smile For Me, though it never made the British charts.
The group split up in the early 70s and Barrie Bernard formed Jigsaw who had a worldwide smash hit with Sky High in 1974. The song was used as the theme to the Australian-produced martial arts film, The Man from Hong Kong (1975).
Samuel ‘Pinkerton’ Kempe