Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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FONTANA, Wayne

(b Glyn Ellis, 28 Oct. '45, Manchester) UK singer, leader of beat group the Mindbenders. Began in skiffle, from school group the Velfins to semi-pro Jets. Legend had it that Fontana was auditioning/ recording, his group didn't turn up and the Mindbenders were formed on the spot; in any case they were Mancunians Bob Lang (b 10 Jan. '46), bass; Eric Stewart (b 20 Jan. '45), guitar; Ric Rothwell (b 11 March '44), drums; name of group from '63 Dirk Bogarde film The Mind Benders (they were originally the Jets). Minor hits '63-4; then cover of Major Lance's soul hit "Um Um Um Um Um' brought no. 5 hit late '64. "Game Of Love' (by American Clint Ballard, who wrote hits for Hollies, etc) was no. 2 UK '65 but no. 1 USA, Canada, Australia; when other '65 releases went no higher than no. 20, singer and group blamed each other and split. Solo Fontana made singles and LP Wayne One '66, hit only with "Come On Home' (no. 16 UK) and "Pamela Pamela' (no. 11), sound lacking Mindbenders' edge. He retired; later played revival shows, especially in USA. His old backing band had instant success with "Groovy Kind Of Love', cover of Toni Wine/Carole Bayer Sager song: no. 2 transatlantic '66; two more top 40s same year and two LPs, mostly R&B covers, followed before they quit. Stewart emerged in Hotlegs, then 10CC with Graham Gouldman, who'd been in later Mindbenders.