Pinkerton's emerged from Rugby's own 'school of rock' in the 1960s - now they are returning to town for a charity concert

Their first audition saw a band member vomit over his drums because he was so nervous, but the Pinkerton's soared into the UK's top ten - and now they are returning to Rugby as part of a charity concert in November.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 5:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 6:13 pm
Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. Photo property of S.K Moore.

The group soared to number 9 in the UK charts in 1966 with their delightfully catchy 'Mirror, Mirror' - but their rise to fame almost never happened.

Their story is told in the book ‘Life and Death of a Pirate’ by Susan K. Moore.

And Mrs Moore has provided a summary of the Pinkerton's rise to fame below:

Pinkerton's outside Clifton Hall. Photo property of S.K Moore.

She writes: "In the 1960s, Reg Calvert was known for managing pop groups and organising the best Rock ‘n’ Roll dances across the country.

"The Calvert family had moved to Clifton Hall, near Rugby and with them arrived an entourage of flamboyant musicians and singers.

"Tony Newman decided to visit Clifton Hall to request an audition for the group he’d recently joined.

"Arriving early (10am), he rang the doorbell.

"Everyone was in bed. Reg got up, irritated by being awoken.

"Seeing a nervous young man, he asked: “Haven’t you heard of such a thing as a telephone?”

"Reg never refused auditions and mentored and encouraged many young musicians.

"He booked them to appear at the Benn Hall in Rugby on the following Wednesday.

"In between times, the rhythm and bass guitar players had decided to leave to form the Mighty Avengers.

"Tony Newman, who had only just learnt guitar, stepped in as a replacement.

"The drummer, Rex Barton, was so nervous, he began to be sick on his drums and the guitarist, Chris Pottle, broke a string.

"Dorothy Calvert was running the dance and she called out, “tune up.” Mishearing, the group ‘turned up’ the volume.

"The audition was not a success, but they were given a second chance and with much rehearsal and improvement, Reg agreed to become their manager.

"He changed their name from the Liberators to Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours and organised a recording session at Decca Records for a song Tony had written, ‘Mirror Mirror'."

The funny and poignant story of Reg and Dorothy Calvert, their lives in Rugby, the groups they managed and the tragic consequences of Reg’s dream to own a pirate radio station, is told by their daughter, Mrs Moore, in the books ‘Clifton Hall – School of Rock’ and ‘Shivering Sands – 1960s Pirate Radio’.

You can see Pinkerton's Assorted Colours on November 8 at the Railway Club, Hillmorton Road as part of a 1960s-70s show, along with Red Thunder and Mama Don’t Allow.

The concert has been set up to raise money for Air Ambulance and Myton Hospice.

Mrs Moore will be at the Railway Club, selling raffle tickets and book-signing ‘Life and Death of a Pirate’ - donating £5 for each book sold.

You can reserve tickets, at £10, and learn more about the concert by visiting

Mrs Moore also giving a talk at Percival Guildhouse, 7.30pm on November 18 for Rugby Family History Group.

See for more information.