Wayne Fontana, whose hit Game Of Love was a chart and bar band staple in the 1960s and beyond, has died at age 74. A statement on behalf of his family said he died on Thursday at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport with his long-term partner at his side.
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders first broke into the UK top five in 1964 with Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um. They followed up the next year with Game of Love, which hit No. 1 in the US and No. 2 in the UK.
Success prompted Fontana to go solo, with his decision made in the middle of a concert. But he achieved success on his own, scoring Top 20 hits with Pamela Pamela and Come On Home.
Born Glyn Ellis in Manchester, UK, he created a stage name as an homage to Elvis Presley’s drummer, DJ Fontana. The Mindbenders, Freddie and the Dreamers and Herman’s Hermits were all from Manchester, making that city’s music scene second only to the fabled Liverpool crowd in the UK during the British Invasion. Those three acts from Manchester had consecutive No. 1 hits in 1965
Fontana was also among the performers at the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970.
On Facebook, Herman’s Hermits frontman Peter Noone wrote: “Wayne Wayne don’t go away.
“After 59 years of friendship, laughter, tears, jail cells and lost brain bells [sic], we have handed over our lovely lead singer Wayne Fontana to the big band in ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN,” he wrote.
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