Monday, August 10, 2020

R.I.P.: Wayne Fontana, '60s Pop Singer

Wayne Fontana, a pop singer best known for the 1965 hit “The Game of Love,” died on Thursday, according to his family.

He was 74, reports Yahoo! Entertainment.

Wayne Fontana: Glyn Geoffrey Ellis, October 28, 1945 – August 6, 2020
Fontana was born Glyn Ellis on Oct. 28, 1945, in Manchester, England. In 1963, Fontana scored a record deal along with his backing group, the Mindbenders, and they broke into the fifth spot on the U.K. charts just a year later with the single “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um.” “The Game of Love” was released in 1965, which gave Fontana and the Mindbenders a No. 1 hit in the U.S., in addition to the No. 2 spot in the U.K.

However, Fontana’s time with The Mindbenders was short-lived, as he reportedly quit the band mid-performance in October 1965 to pursue a solo career. Fontana achieved some success with “Pamela Pamela” in 1966 and “Gina” in 1967, but failed to make an impact on the U.S. charts again. After being one of the first performers at the now-iconic Glastonbury Festival in 1970, Fontana took a break from music. He returned in 1973 and 1976 with two singles, but to minimal acclaim.

Peter Noone, the lead singer of fellow 1960s Manchester-born band Herman’s Hermits remembered Fontana on Facebook. “Wayne Wayne don’t go away,” Noone wrote. “After 59 years of friendship, laughter, tears jail cells and lost brain bells, we have handed over our lovely lead singer Wayne Fontana to the big band in ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN.”

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