Wayne Fontana: 1960s pop star dies at 74

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Wayne Fontana, who found pop fame in the 1960s with songs like Game Of Love, has died at the age of 74.

With his group The Mindbenders, the Manchester-born singer made his debut in the UK top 5 in 1964 with Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um.

They reached number one in the US and number two in the UK the following year with Game Of Love.

But he went solo later that year, having a reputation for leaving in the middle of a gig.

After going solo in 1965, he went on to have top 20 hits with Pamela Pamela and Come On Home.

Legend
Wayne Fontana (second from left) and the Mindbenders


DJ Tony Blackburn paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “I’m sorry to hear of the great 60s icon Wayne Fontana passing yesterday. He was a lovely guy and gave us some great songs. ”

A statement on behalf of his family said he died at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport on Thursday with his longtime partner by his side.

Born Glyn Ellis, the singer’s last name was borrowed from Elvis Presley’s drummer DJ Fontana.

He was among the performers of the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970, but struggled to maintain his solo career over the decade.

“Then I went into self-retirement, drank too much and didn’t know where I was half the time,” he told the Daily Express in 2017. He gave up on drink in 1977 when he joined the ’60s touring circuit.

‘Laughter, tears and prison cells’

In 2007, Fontana made headlines when he was sent to prison for pouring gasoline on a bailiff’s car and setting it on fire.

At the time, his lawyer admitted that his client had had “considerable contact” with a number of judicial officers, but had no vendetta against them.

The singer angered the judge by showing up to court dressed as a Lady of Justice, carrying a sword and scales, and wearing a crown, cape and dark glasses. He was sentenced to 11 months.

On Facebook, Herman’s Hermits frontman Peter Noone wrote, “Wayne Wayne isn’t leaving.

“After 59 years of friendship, laughter, tears, prison cells and lost brain bells [sic], we handed over our lovely singer Wayne Fontana to the big band of ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN. ”

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