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Wayne Fontana (1945–2020), singer known for “The Game of Love”

by Linnea Crowther

Wayne Fontana was a singer with the Mindbenders known for their 1965 No. 1 hit, “The Game of Love.”

British Invasion

Fontana was still a teen when he formed Wayne Fontana the Mindbenders in 1963 in his native Manchester, England, taking his stage name from Elvis Presley’s drummer, D.J. Fontana (1931 – 2018). The band had a U.K. hit in 1964, “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um.” As the British Invasion stormed U.S. shores, the Mindbenders were part of the movement, rising to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in spring of 1965 with “The Game of Love.” They followed it up with lesser singles including the Top-50 track “It’s just a Little Bit Too Late” before Fontana left the band later in 1965. He had a solo career with several modest hits in the U.K. and Australia, including “Come on Home” and “Pamela Pamela” in 1966 and “24 Sycamore” in 1967. Fontana largely left the music industry in the 1970s before returning to tour in later years.

Fontana on leaving the Mindbenders

“We did well, but we had disagreements about the kind of music we were recording. It happens when you’re young and in a band.” —from a 2017 interview with Express

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Tributes to Wayne Fontana

Full obituary: Billboard

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