Mark Wynter

Mark Wynter was one of the moderately successful British pop/rock crooners to come up in the wake of Cliff Richard and Billy Fury. Born Terry Lewis in Woking, he was one of a family of six, and distinguished himself as a boy soprano at his church. By the time he was in his mid-teens, rock & roll was beginning to make itself felt in England, and in 1959, at the age of 16, he was given his first chance at stardom -- a manager named Ray Mackender discovered Lewis singing with a group in a dance hall, filling in for the group's regular lead singer, and was so impressed that he made it his business to meet and sign the teenager. Acting and singing lessons followed, as well as a change of name to Mark Wynter, and by 1960, he was playing top cabaret dates in London, and in August of that year he made his television debut. Wynter was signed to Decca Records in 1960 and over the next two years five of his seven singles charted in England, his debut, "Image of a Girl" (a cover of the Safaris' hit) peaking at number 11. By 1961, he had an album out, entitled The Warmth of Winter, and was a top pop attraction. Voted the Most Promising Newcomer of 1961 in New Musical Express, he got a chance to perform in America later that year, including an appearance on American Bandstand as well as a U.S. release of one of his records (which, as with most U.K. teen pop releases, fizzled). Wynter's career continued roaring ahead in 1962, and he did an acting turn (of sorts) on film in Just for Fun, a political satire (and a follow-up to the previous year's It's Trad, Dad). Then, in the summer of that year, he suddenly found himself at sea when Decca Records hesitated to renew his contract, following the failure of his single "Angel Talk" to chart. Wynter suddenly jumped to the Pye Records label, where he reached number four with his first release, a cover of "Venus in Blue Jeans." He scored again with a cover of "Go Away Little Girl," reaching number six. He missed the charts with "Aladdin's Lamp" and then got to the Top 30 with "Shy Girl." By that time, however, Wynter was running up against the early manifestations of the Merseybeat boom spearheaded by the Beatles and a veritable earthquake in British pop music. Singers like Wynter were suddenly out of fashion and no longer selling serious amounts of records. He made a few serious efforts at charting singles, including "Can I Get to Know You Better," a Sloan-Barri composition produced by Andrew Oldham. It failed to reverse the decline in his sales, however, and by the early '70s Wynter had traded in pop stardom for a stage career on London West End. Wynter was still working actively and successfully in theater throughout the English-speaking world well into the '90s. Though his Decca singles are a bit scattered in the CD catalog, in 2000 Castle Communications released Go Away Little Girl: The Pye Anthology, a two-CD set compiling his complete output for the label. ~ Bruce Eder

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