Wayne Fontana, the 1960s singer who scored a hit with his Manchester group the Mindbenders with 1965’s “The Game of Love” has died at age 74.
Fontana’s passing was confirmed by management agency Chimes Int’l on behalf of the singer’s family in a tweet on Thursday (Aug. 6), which read: “Chimes Int’l on behalf of the family of Wayne Fontana regret to announce he passed away this afternoon at Steppinghill Hospital, Stockport. His long term partner was by his side. known for his 1965 hit ‘Game of Love.’ Family asks for privacy at this time.”
Chimes’ Robert Pratt added that Fontana died after “long illness,” though the illness was not specified; his is survived by a daughter and two sons.
“He will be sadly missed,” Pratt tells Billboard. “Great hits, great entertainer, and a really nice man.”
Fontana, born Glyn Geoffrey Ellis on Oct. 28, 1945, in Manchester, England, and derived his stage name from Elvis’ legendary drummer, D.J. Fontana. He formed the backing group the Mindbenders in 1963 and after priming the pump with a series of R&B covers, the band scored their biggest hit two years later with “Game.” It would be a short-lived affair, though, as Fontana left the group that same year and tried his hand as a solo act.
His only notable chart success was with the 1967 song “Pamela, Pamela,” one of several songs written for him by iconic British songwriter and 10cc member Graham Gouldman.
He released a few more singles in 1968 and 1969 — including “Never an Everyday Thing,” “Dayton Ohio 1903,” “We’re Building a Love and “Charlie Cass,” with one of his final single, “The Last Bus Home,” released by UK Polydor in 1976, after which he mostly walked away from the music business.
Check out “Game of Love” below.
Chimes Int'l on behalf of the family of Wayne Fontana regret to announce he passed away this afternoon at Steppinghill Hospital, Stockport. His long term partner was by his side. known for his 1965 hit Game of Love. Family asks for privacy at this time. Enq: RoyChimes@aol.com
— Diane Hinds, MA. (@diane_hinds) August 6, 2020