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Wayne Fontana

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Wayne Fontana
Background information
Birth nameGlyn Geoffrey Ellis
Born(1945-10-28)28 October 1945
Manchester, England
Died6 August 2020(2020-08-06) (aged 74)
Stockport, England
GenresBeat, pop
Years active1962–2020
Formerly ofThe Mindbenders

Glyn Geoffrey Ellis (28 October 1945 – 6 August 2020),[1] known professionally as Wayne Fontana, was an English rock and pop singer best known for fronting the beat group the Mindbenders, with whom he recorded the hit singles "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" (1964) and "The Game of Love" (1965). After leaving the Mindbenders to pursue a solo career, Fontana had further UK successes including "Pamela Pamela" (1966). Despite legal issues in the 2000s, he continued to perform on the 60s nostalgia circuit until his death.


Music career[edit]

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders in 1965. From left to right: Bob Lang, Ric Rothwell, Eric Stewart and Wayne Fontana.

Fontana was born in Levenshulme, Manchester, Lancashire, and took his stage name from John Wayne and Elvis Presley's drummer, D. J. Fontana.[2] In June 1963 he formed his backing group, the Mindbenders, and secured a recording contract with, coincidentally, Fontana Records.[2] With the band, Fontana released his biggest single "The Game of Love" and after several less successful singles, including "It's Just a Little Bit Too Late" and "She Needs Love" he left the band in October 1965.[2] He reportedly quit during a concert performance.[3]

Fontana remained under contract to the label after parting with the Mindbenders and continued alone, using musicians working under the name of the Opposition, notably Frank Renshaw (lead guitar) (born 22 June 1943, Wythenshawe, Manchester), Bernie Burns (drums), Stuart Sirret (bass), and Phil Keen (drums), among others. Sometimes the band was billed as the Mindbenders, sometimes just as the Wayne Fontana Band. Struggling to achieve chart success, Fontana recorded a number of songs by outside writers with B-sides being mostly his own compositions. Fontana's biggest solo single, "Pamela, Pamela", written by Graham Gouldman, reached No. 5 in Australia's Kent Music Report and No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart in early 1967.[4] It was his last single to chart in the UK.[5] The later singles included another Gouldman composition, "The Impossible Years". In 1970 he was one of the first performers at the Glastonbury Festival.[3] After a streak of flopped releases, Fontana took a break in 1970.[6]

In 1973, trying to re-launch his career, Fontana recorded yet another Gouldman song, "Together". It was backed with an original song, "One-Man Woman", that was co-produced with Eric Stewart, an ex-bandmate from the Mindbenders. The single failed to chart. After his last single, "The Last Bus Home", released by Polydor in 1976, he largely left the music business.[7] For a short period around the early 1980s The Salford Jets backed him, billed as Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. He told the Daily Express in 2017, "I went into self-retirement, drank too much and didn't know where I was half the time."[3] After giving up drinking he joined the 60s revival circuit.[3]

Later years[edit]

In 2005, he fought off bankruptcy but was arrested after police were called by bailiffs who went to his home in Glossop, Derbyshire. He poured petrol onto the bonnet of a bailiff's car and set it alight with the bailiff still inside.[8][9] Fontana was remanded in custody on 25 May 2007. He later appeared at Derby Crown Court dressed as Lady Justice, complete with a sword, scales, crown, cape and dark glasses, and claiming "justice is blind".[10][11] He dismissed his lawyers.[12] On 10 November 2007 he was sentenced to 11 months for setting fire to the car but was released because he had already served the equivalent of the term, having been held under the Mental Health Act 1983.[13]

In March 2011 Fontana was arrested at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, after failing to appear in court in Wakefield, over an unpaid speeding fine.[14]

Fontana continued to perform, notably in the Solid Silver 60s Shows.[15]

Fontana died from cancer on 6 August 2020, at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, at the age of 74.[1] His long-term partner was by his side. He had a daughter and two sons.[7]


Studio albums[edit]

Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders[16]
  • Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders – December 1964 (UK Fontana TL5230) #18. UK.
  • The Game of Love – April 1965 (US Fontana MGF 27542 (Mono)/SRF 67542 (Stereo))
  • Eric, Rick, Wayne and Bob – It's Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders – February 1965 (UK Fontana TL5257) label has: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um – It's Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders) )
Wayne Fontana[17]
  • Wayne One – July 1966 (UK Fontana TL5351 (Mono)/STL5351 (Stereo))
  • Wayne Fontana – June 1967 (US MGM E 4459 (Mono)/SE 4459 (Stereo))

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Hit Single Anthology – 1991 (Europe Fontana 848 161-2)[18]
  • The Best of Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – 1994 (US Fontana 314 522 666-2)[19]


Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders[edit]

Year Single Catalogue[20] Chart Positions UK album US album
1963 "Hello Josephine"
b/w "Road Runner"
UK Fontana TF404 46 Non-album tracks Non-album tracks
"For You, for You"[27]
b/w "Love Potion No. 9"
UK Fontana TF418
1964 "Little Darlin'"[27]
b/w "Come Dance with Me"
UK Fontana TF436
"Stop Look and Listen"
UK B: "Duke of Earl"
US B: "Road Runner"
UK Fontana TF451
US Fontana 1917
"Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um"
b/w "First Taste of Love"
UK Fontana TF497 5
1965 "The Game of Love"
b/w "Since You've Been Gone"
b/w "One More Time"
(Second US pressing)
UK Fontana TF535
US Fontana 1503
US Fontana 1509
(Second US pressing)
2 38 3 10 1 A: Non-album track
B1: Non-album track
B2: Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders
A: The Game of Love
B1: Non-album track
B2: The Game of Love
"It's Just a Little Bit Too Late"
b/w "Long Time Comin'"
UK Fontana TF579
US Fontana 1514
20 55 9 46 Eric, Rick, Wayne and Bob Non-album tracks
"She Needs Love"
b/w "Like I Did"
UK Fontana TF611
US Fontana 1524
32 A: Non-album track
B: Eric, Rick, Wayne and Bob
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Wayne Fontana (solo)[edit]

Year Single Catalogue[20] Chart Positions UK album US album
1965 "It Was Easier To Hurt Her"
b/w "You Made Me What I Am Today"
UK Fontana TF642
US MGM 13456
36 Wayne One Wayne Fontana
1966 "Come on Home"
b/w "My Eyes Break Out in Tears"
UK Fontana TF684
US MGM 13516
16 38 A: Non-album track
B: Wayne Fontana
"Goodbye Bluebird"
b/w "The Sun's So Hot Today"
UK Fontana TF737 49 Non-album tracks Non-album tracks
"Pamela Pamela"
b/w "Something Keeps Calling Me Back"
UK Fontana TF770
AU Fontana TF770
US MGM 13661
11 5 20 Wayne Fontana
1967 "24 Sycamore"
b/w "From a Boy To a Man"
UK Fontana TF827
US MGM 13762
52[A] 33 Non-album tracks
"The Impossible Years"
b/w "In My World"
UK Fontana TF866 72
b/w "We All Love the Human Race"
UK Fontana TF889 1
1968 "Storybook Children"
b/w "I Need To Love You"
UK Fontana TF911
"The Words of Bartholomew"
b/w "Mind Excursion"
UK Fontana TF933 84
"Never an Everyday Thing"
b/w "Waiting For a Break in the Clouds"
UK Fontana TF976
1969 "Dayton Ohio 1903"
b/w "Say Goodbye To Yesterday"
UK Fontana TF1008
US Metromedia 133
"We're Building a Love"
b/w "Charlie Cass"
UK Fontana TF1054
"Charlie Cass"
b/w "Linda"
UK Fontana TF1054
1973 "Together"
b/w "One Man Woman"
UK Warner Bros. K 16269[29]
1976 "The Last Bus Home"
b/w "Give Me Just a Little Bit"
UK Polydor 2058 758[30]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".
  1. ^ a b Jef Tamarkin, "Wayne Fontana, ‘Game of Love’ British Invasion Singer, Dead at 74", Best Classic Bands, 6 August 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 477. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ a b c d "Wayne Fontana: 1960s pop star dies at 74". BBC News. 7 August 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Pamela, Pamela | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  5. ^ "WAYNE FONTANA | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  6. ^ Long, Christian (7 August 2020). "Wayne Fontana, 'Game of Love' Singer, Dead at 74". Popculture.com. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  7. ^ a b "'Game of Love' Singer Wayne Fontana Dies at 74". Billboard. 7 August 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Pop star Fontana charged with arson | UK news | The Observer". Guardian. 4 February 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  9. ^ "60S STAR ON ARSON CHARGE". Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
  10. ^ "Sixties pop star burns bailiff's car". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Business | The Times". Business.timesonline.co.uk. 3 November 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  12. ^ "??". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2014. (subscription required)
  13. ^ Steve Bird (10 November 2007). "Paranoid pop star set fire to bailiff's car in row over congestion charge fine". The Times. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  14. ^ "60s star Wayne Fontana handcuffed and arrested as he prepares to take the stage at Palace Theatre – Manchester Evening News". Menmedia.co.uk. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  15. ^ "The Solid Silver 60S". Flyingmusic.com. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Wayne Fontana". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Hit Single Anthology". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  19. ^ "The Best of Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Wayne Fontana (& The Mindbenders)". 45-rpm.org.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Mindbenders". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  22. ^ a b David Kent (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940 – 1969. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  23. ^ Canadian Albums:
  24. ^ a b "irishcharts.ie (Mindbenders)". irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 10 March 2020. Note: User needs to enter "Fontana" in the "Search by Artist" field and click the "Search" button.
  25. ^ "The Hot 100 Week of April 24, 1965". Billboard. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  26. ^ "The Hot 100 Week of July 17, 1965". Billboard. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  27. ^ a b Thompson, Dave. "Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  28. ^ "Wayne Fontana". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Wayne Fontana – Together". Discogs. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  30. ^ "Wayne Fontana – The Last Bus Home". Discogs. Retrieved 8 August 2020.

External links[edit]