Wayne Fontana

British pop/rock vocalist Wayne Fontana was born Glyn Geoffrey Ellis on October 28, 1945 in Manchester, England. Forming his first band in June 1963, he changed his name to Wayne Fontana – in homage to Elvis Presley drummer DJ Fontana – and called his backing band The Mindbenders. The band issued their first single, “Hello Josephine”, on Fontana Records in 1963. The single entered the UK’s Top 50, but their next two singles failed to chart. Things began to turn around for the band when the single “Stop Look and Listen” (1964) entered the Top 40. The next single, “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” was their first big hit, climbing to Number 5. Their debut album, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders (AKA Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um – It’s Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders) was issued in 1964. Their first single of 1965, “Game of Love”, was a massive international success. It reached Number 1 in the U.S and Number 2 in the UK. In the U.S., their label rush-released the album The Game of Love, which featured the title track and songs previously released in the U.K. The band’s next two singles – “It’s Just a Little Bit Too Late” and “She Needs Love” – didn’t sell as well as “Game of Love” and after the album Eric, Rick, Wayne, and Bob – It’s Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders was released in 1965, Fontana left the band. While the Mindbenders achieved worldwide success with their single “A Groovy Kind of Love” without Fontana, his solo career was far less successful. He achieved some success with singles “It Was Easier to Hurt Her” (1965), “Come on Home” (1966), and “Pamela Pamela” (1966), his solo career had come to a halt by 1970. He released two unsuccessful singles in the ‘70s and continued to tour the oldies circuit. Financial issues and alcohol and mental problems haunted Fontana in his later years. Wayne Fontana died on August 6, 2020 of cancer.

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