The Mindbenders (originally the backing group for Wayne Fontana) was a 1960s beat group from Manchester, England. They were part of the mid 1960s British Invasion with their chart-toppers "Game of Love" (with Wayne Fontana) and "A Groovy Kind of Love".


Wayne Fontana founded the band in 1963 with Bob Lang, Ric Rothwell, and Eric Stewart. The group was later joined by Grahame Foote. The name of the group was inspired by the title of a 1963 film, starring the British actor Sir Dirk Bogarde, called The Mind Benders. They released a few unsuccessful singles before recording "Um Um Um Um Um Um" in 1964, which was a major hit in Britain and led to a tour with Brenda Lee. They also had a #1 hit in the United States with "Game of Love".

After a tour of America and some more unsuccessful singles, Fontana left the band in the middle of a concert in 1965. Stewart became the lead singer of the band, which also dropped 'Wayne Fontana' from its name.

The Mindbenders' first single without Fontana was the hit "Groovy Kind of Love" (a Carole Bayer Sager / Toni Wine composition). The song reached #2 in the US, in 1965 and number 2 in the UK in 1966. It sold one million copies globally. It was successfully revived by Phil Collins in 1988. The album of the same name, however, was a failure, as were most of their other singles and later albums.

A second song by Bayer and Wine, "Ashes to Ashes," did reach #14 in the UK Singles Chart, after an earlier effort in 1966, "Can't Live With You (Can't Live Without You)" had struggled to break the Top 30. On 4 July 1966, The Mindbenders began their last US tour in Atlanta, Georgia in front of a capacity 25,000 crowd as the support act for James Brown. Stewart recalled that "we went down quite well" but that at a later show at the Fillmore West was more memorable. "The liquid light show was great and really worked with our act, which was a lot heavier than on our records".

Stewart had become a songwriter, and wrote "My New Day and Age" for Family. However, the Mindbenders sought material from outside the band. Their next project was a concept album, several months before Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, S.F. Sorrow and Tommy were issued. The Mindbenders release With Woman in Mind contained "I Want Her, She Wants Me", "Ashes to Ashes" plus the lascivious "Schoolgirl". The album did not sell well and was not even released in the US. The accompanying single, another Bayer/Wine composition, "We'll Talk About It Tomorrow" also flopped.

They appeared in the Sidney Poitier movie, To Sir, with Love and were also on the soundtrack with the songs "Off and Running" and "It's Getting Harder All the Time". Rothwell quit the band and was replaced by Paul Hancox. The Mindbenders released their cover version of "The Letter" which fell short at #42, whilst The Box Tops original reached the UK Top 10. A couple more flops followed and in March 1968, Lang quit and was replaced by Graham Gouldman; with him the band recorded a final single "Uncle Joe, the Ice Cream Man".

On 20 November 1968, they broke up at the final concert of a UK tour with The Who, Arthur Brown and Joe Cocker. Stewart and Gouldman went on to form Hotlegs and, much more significantly, the band 10cc.

Lang later joined another rock music outfit, Racing Cars. They had one hit single, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", which reached #14 in the UK Singles Chart in 1977.

In the 1970s, Grahame Foote joined the nostalgia group, 'Herman's Hermits starring Barry Whitwam'.

Band personnel

Bob Lang - Bassist - (born Robert F Lang, 10 January 1946, Manchester, Lancashire).,

Eric Stewart - Guitarist / Later Lead Vocalist - (born Eric Michael Stewart, 20 January 1945, Droylsden, Lancashire).,

Ric Rothwell - Drummer - (born Eric Rothwell, 11 March 1944, Stockport, Cheshire).,

Graham Gouldman - Bass Guitarist (March 1968 - 1968) - (born Graham Keith Gouldman, 10 May 1946, Broughton, Salford, Lancashire).,

Paul Hancox- Drummer - (born 25 October 1950, Birmingham, Warwickshire).,

Jimmy O'Neil - Keyboards - (born Birmingham, Warwickshire).,

Graham Foote - Guitarist - (born 26 November 1946, Manchester, Lancashire).