Top 10 Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders Songs

Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders Songs

Feature Photo: Fontana Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders songs article presents a list of songs recorded by a band first formed in 1963 out of Manchester, England. The band’s debut single “Hello Josephine” would become a big hit sparking heavy interest in the band as the group would take a welcomed ride on the musical train that was becoming known as the British Invasion.

Fontana’s Run

Born as Glyn Geoffrey Ellis on October 28, 1945, the artist better known by fans as Wayne Fontana, teamed up with the Mindbenders in 1963. Together, they signed a recording contract that would lead to the recording and release of three studio albums. First, it was 1964’s Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, and it met with tremendous commercial success.

In 1965, two additional albums were released, Eric, Rick, Wayne and Bob – It’s Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders (also referred to as Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um – It’s Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders), and The Game of Love. However, neither was able to keep the group on top while the musical British Invasion that swept so many nations enjoyed its mid to late-60s run. This frustration led to Fontana’s decision to quit the band in 1966 in pursuit of a solo career. The story had it he opted out during a concert performance but still remained with the same recording label as he released two additional studio albums as a solo artist. The first was 1966’s Wayne One and the second was 1967’s Wayne Fontana.

When Wayne Fontana left The Mindbenders, his solo career featured a group of musicians known as the Opposition. Sometimes when they performed, they were referred to as The Mindbenders and sometimes it was the Wayne Fontana Band. At first, he was able to chart a few hit singles with his new band but it didn’t quite measure up to the same height of success he had with the original Mindbenders. 1970 marked the year Fontana would take a breather as a recording artist.

He’d wait three years before making a comeback but none of the singles he recorded and released put Fontana’s name back on the music charts. In 1976, he opted out of the music business again. It wasn’t until the early 1980s he’d begin performing again but there were no new recordings released by the man aside from the two compilation albums released in 1991 and 1994. The first was Hit Single Anthology and the second was The Best of Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders.

When Wayne Fontana shared his early music career experience in interviews, he admitted he had a drinking problem that led to what he recalled as a self-induced early retirement. While still with The Mindbenders, Fontana dealt with exhaustion that would place Stewart as lead singer until he was able to return to the lineup. From 2005 until 2011, Fontana met with a series of financial and legal issues which would involve law enforcement against him. Going into the tail end of his career, he became part of the 1960s music revival circuit until he died of cancer in Stockport, England, on August 6, 2020.

Mindbender’s Run

June 1963 marked the beginning of Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders as he recruited Bob Lang, Ric Rothwell, and Eric Stewart. The band’s name was inspired by a 1963 British movie, The Mind Benders, that starred Dirk Bogarde. At first, the group showed promise as they released four hit singles that would earn them a loyal fan base that extended beyond their home nation. After “The Game of Love” became their biggest hit to date, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders were not able to capitalize on their rise to fame as well as they hoped. There were two additional hit singles that were released in 1965 but it was apparent the struggle to stay on top during the height of the musical British Invasion was taking its toll on the band, especially Fontana. In mid-concert, Fontana decided he had enough and left The Mindbenders to carry on without him.

Now as a trio, The Mindbenders moved Eric Stewart as the new frontman of a group that would release the biggest hit of their career. In 1966, “A Groovy Kind of Love” became a number two hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as the Official UK Singles Chart. It also peaked as high as number four in Canada and at number nine in Ireland. The single went on to sell over one million copies around the world. However, just as it was with Wayne Fontana, The Mindbenders were not able to follow up with another big hit that would match the success level “A Groovy Kind of Love” achieved. This was the same song Phil Collins covered in 1988 that would turn his version, as well as the original, into cult classics around the world.

After the departure of Wayne Montana, The Mindbenders recorded and released three studio albums before deciding it was time to go their separate ways. The first two, The Mindbenders and A Groovy Kind of Love were released in 1966. The third, With Woman in Mind, was a 1967 release that was considered a flop. This resulted in Bob Lang’s decision to leave The Mindbenders in 1968. He was promptly replaced by Graham Gouldman as their new bass guitarist. Before the year was over, he, Ric Rothwell, and Eric Stewart put their run as The Mindbenders to an end and moved on. After finishing their 1968 concert tour, the band officially broke up. However, Gouldman and Stewart continued to perform together as the short-lived group known as Hotlegs. After this, they formed a new band called 10cc. It would be with this group Gouldman and Niche discovered long-term success as performers and recording artists.

Top 10 Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders Songs

#10 – Love Potion No. 9

“Love Potion No. 9” was originally performed by the Clovers in 1959 and it became a number-twenty-three hit for them on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 1964, The Searchers turned it into a beloved classic with their performance that peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. In 1963, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders recorded this cult classic along with “For You, For You” while they were still signed to Fontana Records. While it may not have become a hit for them, it does hold a special place among British fans who had already become familiar with this beat band before the rest of the world would learn about them.

 

#9 – Road Runner

Originally recorded and released in 1960 by Bo Diddley, “Road Runner” was a song that earned its claim to fame with the notable “beep-beep” in the chorus. It clearly made reference to the iconic Loony Tunes series, Roadrunner. The popularity of this song has been recorded by a long list of artists, including Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. This song was released alongside “Hello Josephine” as the group made their debut in 1963. While it may not stand out as a signature Fontana classic, there is a special charm to this song that’s so fun to listen to.

 

#8 – Too Many Tears

“Too Many Tears” was a catchy song performed by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders that shared a man’s heartache as he had to pick up the pieces after experiencing a painful breakup with his love interest. This song came from the group’s self-titled 1965 album but was not released as a single. As a dance party classic, “Too Many Tears” won fans over as a fun tune that became one of their personal favorites.

 

#7 – One More Time

“One More Time” was a song that featured Wayne Fontana and Eric Stewart sharing their songwriting skills. This original had Fontana at his best as a vocalist as he turned this song into an inspirational favorite that won over the hearts of fans and critics when it was first heard in 1964. “One More Time” never became a hit but it was a favorite that kept the interest and loyalty of a fan base that appreciated and followed the musical material from Wayne Fontana and The Mindbreakers. When the British beat band debuted with its first studio album, it had no trouble winning over music critics and fans as a group that showed so much promise at the time.

 

#6 – Hello Josephine

Released as a non-album single in 1963 at the time, “Hello Josephine” marked the debut of Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. On the Official UK Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number-forty six. Although this wasn’t regarded as a big hit at the time, it paved the way for Fontana and his bandmates to enjoy a recording career during the era of the infamous “British Invasion.” Fans of Fats Domino may recognize “Hello Josephine” as a British beat version of “My Girl Josephine.”

 

#5 – Stop Look and Listen

In 1964, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders covered Ben E. King’s “Stop Look and Listen.” For them, it became a number thirty-seven hit on the Official UK Singles Chart. It wasn’t long after this the group was able to keep pushing forward which would earn them international stardom as a world-class rock group. While the four men performed together, they covered many songs from legendary R&B artists in their recordings. During an era when the British music scene favored turning R&B favorites into pop-style versions, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders were able to capitalize on when they first formed as a group in 1963. After Fontana reduced the four-man band to a trio in 1965 upon his departure, The Mindbenders continued to stick with rock-oriented material until they officially disbanded in 1968.

 

#4 – She Needs Love

The highlight behind “She Needs Love” came from the cymbals and the drums as this, combined with Fontana’s ranged performance as a vocalist. As a group, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders were an English beat band that earned their claim to fame with music that had an easygoing R&B flavor to it. It was a ballad performed by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders in 1965. It was one of three songs the group performed that came from songwriter Clint Ballard Jr.

This was a song he wrote for them that would peak as high as number thirty-two on the Official UK Singles Chart. While the song may not have measured up to the commercial expectations Fontana hoped for, it was favorably reviewed by music critics. It was also enough to convince Clint Ballard Jr. to further pursue his career as a songwriter. “She Needs Love” marked the final single released by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders as a group before Fontana opted to move on as a solo artist.

 

#3 – It’s Just a Little Bit Too Late

Released in 1965 as a follow-up single behind the highly successful “The Game of Love,” “It’s Just a Little Bit Too Late” peaked as high as number nine on the Canadian Singles Chart. It was the only nation that recognized it as a top-ten hit. On the Official UK Singles Chart, it charted as high as number twenty and it was a modest hit at number forty-five on the US Billboard Hot 100. In Australia, “It’s Just a Little Bit Too Late” peaked at number fifty-five. This successful release may not have been as popular as the group’s biggest hit but it was enough to keep them on top as fan favorites worldwide as an English beat band. Their version was regarded as a bright, fast, and funky number that had no trouble earning a thumb’s up by music critics and fans.

Written by Clint Ballard Jr., “It’s Just a Little Bit Too Late” was originally recorded in 1963 by Clyde McPhatter. The Druids released their version in 1964 just prior to Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders in 1965. Both bands were Briths beat group favorites at the time. This wasn’t the first time Fontana and his bandmates worked with Clint Ballad Jr. as the songwriter was also responsible for their biggest hit, “The Game of Love” in 1964. The group’s interest in “It’s Just a Little Bit Too Late” was suggested came about after touring with the Hollies as they also benefited from Balladr Jr.’s songwriting talent. Their big hit at the time was “I’m Alive.”

 

#2 – Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um

“Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” was the first major hit Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders earned after it was released as a single in 1964. On the Official UK Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number five. It was enough to earn them a spot to join Brenda Lee on tour. The song was written by Curtis Mayfield and was first recorded as a single in 1963 by Major Lance.

For him, “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” was his biggest hit in the United States as it peaked as high as number five on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the Official UK Singles Chart, it became a number forty hit. However, it was impressionable enough to inspire Fontana and his bandmates to cover their version of a song, which became wildly popular in their home nation.

 

#1 – The Game of Love

As a follow-up single behind “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um,” Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders released “The Game of Love” in 1965. This was the hit single that would earn the group international fame as it became a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, a number two hit on the Official UK Singles Chart, and a number three hit on the Canadian Singles Chart.

It also peaked as high as number ten in Ireland, and at number thirty-eight in Australia. In Germany and South Africa, “The Game of Love” charted as high as number nineteen. The performance Fontana poured into “The Game of Love” was regarded as a biblical experience as he powerfully sang the tale of the Holy Bible’s Adam and Eve. This was a song that defined what a relationship between two members of the opposite sex was all about and remains a favorite among fans who have a love for 1960s-style British beat music.

Going into 1987, Tex Pistol covered this song in an attempt to produce commercially appealing material in his quest to gain chart recognition as a rock musician. This attempt worked, thanks to the unorthodox drum sound that made “The Game of Love” a standout favorite. In his home nation of New Zealand, it became a cult classic as it topped its official music chart.

Top 10 Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders Songs  article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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