Wayne Fontana, a British Invasion-era singer greatest recognized for his 1965 hit music “Sport of Love,” died on Thursday at a hospital in Stockport, England. He was 74.
Pam Dixon, his social media administrator, mentioned the trigger was most cancers.
Mr. Fontana, who made a reputation performing as Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, discovered transient success with the band when “Sport of Love” hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart the week of April 24, 1965.
The song got another burst of attention in 1987 when it was played by the disc jockey portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
“Professionally he was a bit of a genius,” the musician Peter Noone said of his friend Mr. Fontana in a phone interview. (Mr. Noone had success of his own in the British invasion as the frontman of Herman’s Hermits.) He added, “There are only two great singers in the northwest of England, and he was one of them.” The other, he said, is Allan Clarke of the Hollies.
But Mr. Fontana grew frustrated as the group’s other singles flopped in 1965; at one point he stormed off the stage in the middle of a concert in October.
“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,” Mr. Fontana said in an interview in 2017. “One evening onstage, I made a decision to sing ‘Save the Final Dance for Me,’ and I might hear the band mumbling, ‘Why are we all the time doing the gradual ones.’”
The Mindbenders had different hits in the UK, together with “Pamela Pamela” in 1966. When Mr. Fontana departed for his solo profession, his remaining bandmates, Bob Lang, Ric Rothwell and Eric Stewart, made the band a trio.
As a solo act, Mr. Fontana struggled, however his former group went on with out him to succeed in No. 2 on the U.Ok. and U.S. Billboard charts in 1966 with “A Groovy Type of Love,” which Phil Collins coated in 1988.
Mr. Fontana was born Glyn Geoffrey Ellis on Oct. 28, 1945, in Manchester, England, to Mildred and Richard Ellis. He educated as a phone engineer apprentice earlier than beginning his profession in music.
He started singing within the 1960s because the frontman of Wayne Fontana and the Jets, taking his stage identify from Elvis Presley’s drummer D.J. Fontana. He soon formed the ultimately more successful Mindbenders (it’s name was inspired by the title of a 1963 movie), and they signed a contract with the entirely unrelated Fontana Records.
Later in life Mr. Fontana performed in oldies tours around Europe.
His marriage to Suzanne Davis in 1966 ended in divorce. His survivors, whom his representatives declined to identify, include his partner, three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.