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About Wayne Fontana

b. Glyn Ellis, 28 October 1945, Manchester, England. After changing his name in honour of Elvis Presleys drummer D.J. Fontana, Wayne was signed to the appropriately named Fontana Records by A&R head Jack Baverstock. Waynes backing group, the Mindbenders from the horror film of the same name, were as accomplished as their leader and provided a gritty accompaniment. Their first minor hit was with the unremarkable Hello Josephine in 1963. Specializing in mild R&B covers, the group finally broke through with their fifth release, the Major Lance cover Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, which reached number 5 in the UK. The 1965 follow-up, The Game Of Love, hit number 2 and spearheaded a Kennedy Street Enterprises Manchester invasion of the USA which lifted the group to number 1. Thereafter, the group struggled, with Just A Little Bit Too Late and the below par She Needs Love being their only further hits. In October 1965, Wayne decided to pursue a solo career, first recording the Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy ballad It Was Easier To Hurt Her before finding success with Jackie Edwards catchy Come On Home. Erratic progress followed, with only the Graham Gouldman composition Pamela Pamela breaking a run of misses. After giving up music during the early 70s, Fontana joined the revivalist circuit, although his progress was frequently dogged by personal problems.

Manchester, Lancashire, England
28 Oct 1945

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