Engelbert Humperdinck To Share 50 Years Of Hits In New Compilation
by ROGER WINK, VVN MUSIC on APRIL 20, 2017
in NEWS, Noise11.com
Fifty years ago today, Engelbert Humperdinck had just finished up a six-week run at the top of the British Singles chart with the song Release Me.
It wasn’t a new song. Release Me had been written in 1949 by Eddie Miller and Robert Yount and hand already had hit versions in the country field by Ray Price, Jimmy Heap and Kitty Wells and in R&B by Little Esther Phillips, but it was the Engelbert version that really put the song into the ears of the general public.
Up until that time, Humperdinck had not had major recording success but, one night in early 1967, Engelbert was asked to fill in for an ill Dickie Valentine on the popular U.K. TV program Sunday Night at the London Palace. He sang Release Me and, within a few weeks, it was at the top of the charts keeping the Beatles’ Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever at number 2.
It was the beginning of a career that would see Humperdinck hit the British top ten a total of eight times and the U.S. top ten twice, including Release Me which peaked at number 4.
On June 2, Decca/UMe will release Engelbert Humperdinck 50: The Legend Continues. The two-CD set contains 36 songs from his years at Decca Records along with two newly recorded songs and a brand new disco remix of Release Me.
Engelbert said “It is wonderful to still be at Decca after all these years! It’s remarkable to think that it’s been 50 years since ‘Release Me’, yet I still feel a thrill when I step in front of the microphone to sing and love seeing the great joy it brings my fans. I’m delighted to have recorded two new songs for the album, which I’m dedicating to my beloved wife Patricia, whose strength and courage is truly extraordinary.”
The track list with chart info:
Release Me (1967 / #4 Pop / #28 Adult Contemporary (AC) / #1 U.K.)
There Goes My Everything (1967 / #20 Pop / #2 U.K.)
The Last Waltz (1967 / #25 Pop / #6 AC / #1 U.K.)
Am I That Easy To Forget (1968 / #18 Pop / #1 AC / #3 U.K.)
Quando Quando Quando (1968 / #40 U.K.)
Les Bicyclettes De Belsize (1968 / #31 Pop / #3 AC / #5 U.K.)
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
My World (Il Mondo)
There’s A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)
Everybody Knows (We’re Through)
My Cherie Amour
Sweetheart (1970 / #47 Pop / #2 AC / #22 U.K.)
Stand By Me
Let There Be Love
Have I Told You Lately
I Don’t Want To Call It Goodbye (New track)
Just The Two Of Us
A Man Without Love (1968 / #19 Pop / #3 AC / #2 U.K.)
The Way It Used To Be (1969 / #42 Pop / #4 AC / #3 U.K.)
Winter World Of Love (1969 / #16 Pop / #3 AC / #7 U.K.)
My Marie (1970 / #43 U.S. / #2 AC / #31 U.K.)
Strangers In The Night
Another Time, Another Place (1971 / #43 Pop / #5 AC / #13 U.K.)
Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings
Dance The Night Away
A Place In The Sun
It Had To Be You
Too Beautiful To Last (1972 / #86 Pop / #16 AC / #14 U.K.)
This Guy’s In Love With You
I’m A Better Man (For Having Loved You) (1969 / #38 Pop / #6 AC / #15 U.K.)
What A Wonderful World
I Followed My Heart (New track)
Release Me (DBU Disco Remix)
On the same day, Engelbert will also release the new 11-CD box set The Complete Decca Studio Albums with all eleven of the albums being released digitally for the first time.
Release Me (1967)
The Last Waltz (1967)
A Man Without Love (1968)
Engelbert Humperdinck (1969)
We Made It Happen (1970)
Another Time, Another Place (1971)
In Time (1972)
Engelbert, King of Hearts (1973)
My Love (1973)
Engelbert Humperdinck 50 LEGENDARY SINGER CELEBRATES 50th ANNIVERSARY OF HIS HIT SONG RELEASE ME WITH NEW ALBUM
Album released on Decca Records on 19th May 2017 (U.S. release date June 2)
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TEASER TRAILER
LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Engelbert Humperdinck celebrates 50 yearssince his iconic song Release Me with a new album of his greatest hits, including two brand new tracks. The 2CD collection will be released on Decca/UMe on June 2nd (available May 19 outside the U.S.) and includes a remix of Release Me – one of the best-selling singles of all time.
In a career spanning over five decades, Engelbert has sold in excess of 140 million records worldwide – more than Adele, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. He has 64 gold albums, 23 platinum albums, multiple Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and he represented the UK in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. He is still performing live, with a 50th anniversary world tour this year.
The new album features 35 of Engelbert’s best-loved songs plus two brand new recordings, I Followed My Heart and I Don’t Want To Call It Goodbye – these tracks possess the same elegance and charismatic charm as his previous hits, brought to life by his distinctive silky vocals. With truly heartfelt and poignant lyrics, both new songs have been personally dedicated to his wife of 50 years, Patricia.
Engelbert comments: “It is wonderful to still be at Decca after all these years! It’s remarkable to think that it’s been 50 years since ‘Release Me’, yet I still feel a thrill when I step in front of the microphone to sing and love seeing the great joy it brings my fans. I’m delighted to have recorded two new songs for the album, which I’m dedicating to my beloved wife Patricia, whose strength and courage is truly extraordinary.”
Engelbert’s hit song Release Me held the No.1 spot in the UK chart for six weeks in 1967, preventing The Beatles single Penny Lane from reaching the top (and breaking their four-year run of chart toppers). Release Me was the highest-selling single in 1967, spending a record-breaking 56 weeks in the charts and hitting the No.1 spot in 11 countries. The song was re-released after being used in a TV advert for John Smith’s beer.
The youngest of 10 children, Engelbert was extraordinarily reserved and timid growing up. Originally from Leicester, he lived in India until he was 10 before moving back to his home city. His childhood was dominated by the love of his parents and his brothers and sisters. He knew he could sing harmonies, but the power of his own voice came as a surprise to him and other people: “It’s just so loud, but I discovered I can be tender with it at the same time,” said Engelbert.
Born Arnold George Dorsey, he started studying music and playing the saxophone at the age of 11. At 17, he found himself playing at a pub that sponsored singing contests.
Becoming popular on the UK music circuit, he released a single called Crazybells/ Mister Music Man on Decca Records in 1959. However after contracting tuberculosis, which silenced him for six months and nearly ended his rising music career, he made a comeback under a new stage name. Thus was born the soon-to-be legend, Engelbert Humperdinck.
Never intending his monumental rise to fame, Engelbert exploded onto the music scene in the sixties. The then shy, handsome young man captured the hearts of the public instantly, quickly becoming an international icon. He became great friends with Elvis Presley and the two legends often performed each other’s songs.
Engelbert’s music has transcended time and his voice still continues to reach out to people. The new album celebrates the life and works of an icon with a collection of his greatest hits, along with brand new tracks to be treasured for years to come.
To coincide with the new album, Engelbert will be releasing a new 11-disc box set entitled 'The Complete Decca Studio Albums" on June 2nd . Each of the 11 albums featured in this box set will be released digitally for the first time ever.
PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM HERE
1. Release Me
2. There Goes My Everything
3. The Last Waltz
4. Am I That Easy To Forget
5. Quando Quando Quando
6. Spanish Eyes
7. Les Bicyclettes De Belsize
8. Can't Take My Eyes Off You
9. My World (Il Mondo)
10. There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)
11. Everybody Knows (We're Through)
12. My Cherie Amour
14. Love Letters
15. Stand By Me
16. Let There Be Love
17. Have I Told You Lately
19. I Don’t Want To Call It Goodbye *
1. Just The Two Of Us
2. A Man Without Love
3. The Way It Used To Be
4. Winter World Of Love
5. Ten Guitars
6. My Marie
7. Strangers In The Night
8. Another Time, Another Place
9. Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings
10. Dance The Night Away
11. A Place In The Sun
13. It Had To Be You
14. Too Beautiful To Last
15. This Guy's In Love With You
16. I'm A Better Man (For Having Loved You)
18. What A Wonderful World
19. I Followed My Heart *
20. Release Me - DBU Disco Remix *
* indicates a new track
* * *
Engelbert Humperdinck and the Queen to have lunch together in Leicester
By Tom_Mack | Posted: April 11, 2017
Legendary singer Engelbert Humperdinck will be flying back home to Leicester for lunch with the Queen on Thursday.
Her Majesty and Prince Phillip will be in the city to attend the Maundy Thursday service at Leicester Cathedral and their visit will include lunch at St Martins House next door.
The cathedral has drawn up a varied list of local heroes including people running small charities, youngsters who set up a skate park in Measham, a handful of MPs and civic dignitaries and just the one global superstar.
Engelbert will be visiting briefly after a tour of the eastern states of the USA and Canada.
He said: "The excitement for the Royal visit has been building for weeks. What a wonderful moment in time to welcome Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip to our city.
"I'm thrilled to be able to share the viewing of the Maundy Thursday service.
"The route being taken will put a regal touch on all of our collective memories of our beloved city.
"I used to meet my wife under the clock tower 60 years ago and now I can add Her Majesty to the retelling of my story in the future."
Enge said he was also hoping to catch up with his old friend Leicester City legend Alan Birchenall, who suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this year.
He said: "I shall be on the look out for my dear friend, Alan, who owes me a catch up get-together.
"What a better one for the memory book than to do it in the Queen's presence?"
Recalling the last time he met the Queen in 2014 he said: "The last time I had the honour of being in the presence of Queen Elizabeth was at Buckingham Palace.
"It was a little like a fairy tale but at the moment of acknowledgement, I said, 'Your Majesty....Engelbert Humperdinck' and bowed as deeply and respectfully as possible.
"Nothing was captured on film but it will forever play in my own history book."
The Queen goes to a different cathedral each year to hand out special coins, called Maundy money, to people who have served their local churches and communities.
Canon, pastor and sub-dean of the cathedral Alison Adams, who is organising the event, said: "The recipients in the cathedral will be people who are doing things for their community and so we wanted the lunch event to reflect that.
"Engelbert is an honorary freeman of the city and people in that category, who have done something good in their lives, are the people we thought would be suitable.
"The lunch is a celebration of local things so instead of filling the lunch with civic dignitaries we are inviting all kinds of people who are doing great things in the city and county."
Music legend Engelbert Humperdinck coming to Lancaster
Gary Haber , email@example.com 10:03 a.m. ET March 29, 2017
The balladeer brings his 50th anniversary tour to American Music Theatre on Sunday
Engelbert Humperdinck has long been one of music's biggest entertainers, a mega-watt star so famous he barely needs to use a last name.
He's got four Grammy nominations, 64 gold records and a string of enduring hits to his credit like "After the Lovin'," "Spanish Eyes" and "Release Me," the 1967 classic that spent more than a year atop the pop music charts. That won Humperdinck a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But Humperdinck's not a singer who rests on his past successes.
He likes to keep things fresh, whether it's cutting a country music album or the 2014 album of duets Humperdinck did with fellow music icons, including Elton John, Smokey Robinson and Willie Nelson.
Humperdinck is currently assembling material for an album of all-new songs he hopes to release this summer.
"I'm testing them out with my audiences now, and I'm getting great results," he said during a recent phone interview from his home in California.
Humperdinck is looking to fill the album with the kinds of songs to which he's always been partial. He calls them "songs with value," songs with lyrics to which the average listener can relate.
"My kind of material is story lines that people have lived before, so the can say 'That's my life," Humperdinck said.
Humperdinck will bring his musical virtuosity with him to Lancaster on Sunday, April 2, when he performs, backed by an eight-piece band, at American Music Theatre. It's part of Humperdinck's 50th anniversary tour, dubbed "The Legend Continues."
It's a far cry from the years Humperdinck spent honing his craft playing pubs in his native England where he learned how to win over an audience.
"That served as an apprenticeship for me," said Humperdinck, who was born Arnold George Dorsey.
"When I got a hit record, I had already paid my dues."
He'd already been performing for years under the name Gerry Dorsey before his manager suggested a catchier stage name: Engelbert Humperdinck, which was the name of a 19th-century German opera composer.
When he's not on tour, Humperdinck keeps on top of the latest music trends.
He's a regular watcher of TV's "The Voice."
As for his own half-century entertainment career, Humperdinck said he's pleased with how it all turned out.
He originally thought he'd make his mark as a saxophone player, but it was his voice that turned out to be his instrument of fame.
"I'm just happy to keep doing what I'm doing," he said.
If You Go
What: Engelbert Humperdinck in concert: "The 50th Anniversary Concert...The Legend Continues."
Where: American Music Theatre, 2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: All seats $69
To order: By phone: 717-397-7700. Online at www.amtshows.com
REVIEW: ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK AT THE RIVER ROCK SHOW THEATRE
It’s been about a year since we last saw Engelbert Humperdinck. Since his sold out show last year, the legendary pop vocalist has celebrated both his 80th birthday as well as his 50 year anniversary in show business. With a string of dates touted as the “50th Anniversary Tour”, Engelbert stopped back at The River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond for a two night stand, opening Friday night. The 90 minute performance served not only as a marker of what an impressive career Humperdinck has achieved, but also looked ahead with a strong stance, testing out new material on the crowd as well as the old favourite chart toppers and classics.
Opening the show with the Willie Nelson-penned, Patsy Cline version of “Crazy”, Humperdinck strolled out onto the famed River Rock stage, looking dapper as ever in a suit with a pop of red with his signature silk shirt. Within minutes, he began the onslaught of hits he’s performed throughout his lengthy career, beginning with what he called “Ahh, my old famous song”, “Am I That Easy To Forget”.
He paid tribute to the late Ray Price on Price’s “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me”.
Humperdinck joked how he and Price had exchanged in a friendly competition early in their respective young careers when they released duelling versions of “Release Me”, which ultimately saw Humperdinck eclipsing Price (not to mention blocking out The Beatles at the time) on the top of the charts. When he did get to “Release Me” later in the set, Humperdinck announced “This is the song I’m celebrating tonight,” before joking “Every time I play it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I have to get it shaved off.”
Although Humperdinck was just here last year, tonight’s show saw a wildly different set list, focusing more on the music than theatrics and too many jokes. Though it was nice to see Engelbert throw out the odd one liner, it was refreshing to see that the showman is still switching up his performance and catalogue for his fans. He did throw in the odd joke (“I don’t drink as a rule, but as a habit”) but focused more on the tunes tonight. He admitted to having some issues with a cough and cold, but the trooper marched on through his show like the seasoned performer he is.
Throughout the set, Humperdinck used his audience as guinea pigs to test drive two wildly different new songs as candidates for an upcoming single. The first was a James Bond-ready, lovelorn ballad declaring “I’d rather live a lie than say goodbye.” It was a refreshing, goosebumps-inducing version of the same Engelbert fans know and love, invoking a slightly darker, cinematic vibe to his oeuvre with a big, brassy sound. Later, the second option “I Followed My Heart” was classic crooner Humperdinck, featuring elements both reminiscent and sentimental. Both tracks explored entirely different sonic flavours, showing that Humperdinck’s voice can find a home in wildly different genres. Perhaps someone in the EDM world needs to collaborate with Humperdinck. Ho could easily team up with Calvin Harris or Major Lazer for the ultimate genre-hopping mashup.
In fact, the 2017 incarnation of Engelbert Humperdinck is ever evolving, acting as both a touchstone to the finer, bygone days of the music industry but also keeping up with the times. One moment he’s pulling a red handkerchief out of his waist to wipe his brow and blowing kisses to his adoring fans, the next moment he’s fist bumping with his guitarist after a killer solo. Half the fun of showing up for Humperdinck’s set is the unpredictability of his show. While so many of his colleagues and contemporaries turn out the same performance night after night, it seems Humperdinck is hellbent on giving his devout crowd new memories. The gals seated beside us told us how this was their fourth time seeing Humperdinck live, and how each time is an entirely new experience.
He even pulled out a cover of The Drifters’ “On Broadway”, highlighted by a fantastic video montage placing Humperdinck’s name on famous New York City show marquees. Somehow, Humperdinck manages to make a real variety of music fit cohesively within his set, ranging from western influences to show tunes.
The variety of performance elements throughout the night also varied. “Girl Of Mine” featured a bouncing-ball, karaoke-style lyric guide on the screen encouraging an audience sing along. “Quando Quando Quando” saw Humeprdinck parading around the stage delivering adorable choreography with his two backup dancers, following a personal story about being friends with Dean Martin and his own early start at the Vegas hotel circuit. During the three-times-platinum “After The Lovin'”, Humperdinck perched himself center stage on a speaker, getting close and intimate with the crowd during the heartfelt ballad.
All the old Humperdinck classics were present through the set, including the romantic “My World”, the easy listening favourite “The Last Waltz”, and a medley of others that were jammed together as if to show that Humperdinck’s hits are too plentiful for one performance. Hearing the string of “Les Bicyclettes de Belsize”, “There Goes My Everything”, and “Spanish Eyes” (among others) all in a row really encapsulated Humperdinck’s tenure and legacy.
Near the end of the show, the ever classy Engelbert Humperdinck proposed a toast to the crowd. “Here’s to you, here’s to me, here’s to friends we should always be.” A touching and sentimental sendoff that acted as the ultimate nightcap.
Happy Valentine's Day - "You're My World"
In honor of Valentine's Day, the King of Romance, Engelbert Humperdinck presents a special intimate performance of the classic ballad "You're My World" alongside Johann Frank (Guitar) & David Arana (Piano).
Engelbert Humperdinck wishes everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day!
The Engelbert Humperdinck concerts in Florida have been postponed due to Engelbert contracting influenza.
The Engelbert Humperdinck concerts in Florida have been postponed due to Engelbert contracting influenza. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to coming to Florida very soon
Engelbert Humperdinck pays tribute to the woman who helped him start his music career
By Tim Healy Posted: October 07, 2016, Leicester Mercury
Engelbert Humperdinck has paid a touching tribute to his eldest sister Olga, who has died.
Olga Keane was the eldest sibling of 10 children born to Engelbert\'s parents Olive and Mervyn and helped him on the first rungs of his music career in Leicester.
She taught him harmony and bought him his first saxophone.
Olga Frances Keane, nee Dorsey, died in a West Sussex nursing home on September 14, aged 96.
Engelbert, who still has a home in Great Glen, has paid a touching tribute to her on Facebook but work commitents in Canada prevent him from attending the funeral which will be held in Loughborough on Wednesday.
He posted: \"For 80 of her 96 years, I was her little brother
\"She taught me harmony, bought me my first sax and was always first backstage and incredibly proud of her family tree and it\'s many branches.
\"She was a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, great grandmother, an amazing aunty and a second mummy to many.\"
He added: \"Our family is heartbroken to lose her but so very grateful for all the many years we had her in our lives .
\"Don\'t look so sad... I know it\'s over.
\"But life goes on and this old world will keep on turning.
\"Let\'s just be glad we had this time to spend together....
\"Please say a prayer and raise a glass for the good times.
\"Love you forever Olga.\"
The service will be held at St Mary\'s Roman Catholic Church in Ashby Road at 11am followed by cremation.
Engelbert\'s daughter Louise Dorsey, who lives in Nashville Tennessee, said: \"She helped her father answer the bags full of fan mail. She was so much to so many.
\"Sadly, all the memories she helped to create were lost to dementia, save the sound of certain voices over the phone or songs.
\"She passed peacefully wearing a blanket her mother had knitted, surrounded by family, songs and holding an Engelbert \"engelbear\".\"
She added: \"Unfortunately dad will be in Canada and will not be able to attend the funeral.
\"I hope to attend and there will be a large gathering at the service.
\"She was the matriarch of the family and very much my Grandpa Dorsey\'s right hand.
\"I used to tour with dad and Olga used to attend and we shared the same room. She was like a big sister to me too.\"
Mrs Keane was the wife of the late Captain Barney St John Keane. They had two daughters Veronica and Jennifer. Mrs Keane was a grandmother and great grandmother.
Tributes have been paid by her other siblings Patricia, Colin, Jacqueline and Charlie.
Family flowers only. Donations can be made payable to Dementia UK c/o Co-operative Funeralcare, 36 East Street, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1HL on 01403 750227.
Read more at http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/engelbert-humperdinck-pays-tribute-to-the-woman-who-helped-him-start-his-music-career/story-29787911-detail/story.html#McMEgitcBedXYrOl.99
Engelbert Humperdinck at 80 still singing, still sexy
Waterloo Region Record
If you survey The Beatles string of English hits, you will discover only one record between 1964 and 1969 that failed to reach No. 1.
At first glance, it may seem odd that "Penny Lane" — a wistful, nostalgia-tinged ode to mid-century Liverpool — failed to top the charts at a time when The Beatles were, as John Lennon proclaimed, more popular than Jesus.
But the Fab Four were no match for a mellifluous love man named Arnold Dorsey, who adapted the name Engelbert Humperdinck from a 19th century German composer and sent hearts atwitter when he re-recorded an old country tune and topped British charts for six weeks.
"Release Me" was that song, the first volley in a 50 year career that brings the performer affectionately referred to as "Enje," "Humpy" and "The Hump" to Centre in the Square as what is arguably the world's first 80-year-old sex symbol since Mae West"
I had the privilege of speaking with the legendary "King of Romance" by phone about his life and career and found him disarmingly modest, charming and full of self-deprecating humour.
Whether or not you're a fan of his emotive, syrupy ballads, it's impossible to dislike the man himself.
Enge, if I may call you that, you're an 80-year-old sex symbol.
I'm not sure that's ever been done before.
I think there's been others ... haven't there been others?
I don't think so. Tom Jones is 76. Elvis didn't make it past 42.
WOW! ... (laughs) ... Listen, I've got a new title!
You have other titles as well. Tell me about "King of Romance."
I didn't give that to myself. It was given to me by the press and kept hot by the fans. I think it's quite a compliment. "King of Romance." "King of Rock and Roll." "King of Pop" ... (laughs) ... There were many kings and I'm glad to be one of them.
Are there disadvantages — like if you're in line at the grocery store and someone butts in and you want to tell him off?
Number one, it's a rarity for me to go shopping. But I do, by the way, go shopping, because I love to cook.
But no, I don't get upset about anything like that. That's childish. I don't tell people "Hey, do you know who I am? Who do you think you are?"
What if telemarketers call your house during dinner and won't take no for an answer?
Or you order room service and the food is lousy? Are you ever tempted to puff out your chest and snap "The King Of Romance does not eat Kraft Dinner!"
I once had a problem when I went over the speed limit at 35 miles an hour and it was supposed to be 30.
I got pulled over by the police and I did happen to say, "Listen, I'm opening in Vegas next week and I'll be happy if you came over with your wife and you can have a free room and weekend there and I do apologize for the mistake I made."
He said "OK, I don't want to come to Vegas, but I'm gonna give you a ticket!" ... (laughs) ... so the name means nothing to some people.
What about your wife — does she call you the King of Romance? Your kids?
It's a show business thing. My family are very proud of my achievements in life and my kids just treat me like Dad and my wife treats me like a husband.
Tell the truth: how mad were The Beatles when you ended their No. 1 streak in Britain? Did Paul threaten to come over and spray paint your garage?
I don't think it even bothered them. They really had all those many, many hits, and their music is just legendary.
"Please release me, let me go'' — not the most upbeat lyric. How did a lovelorn country tune kicking around since 1949 become the signature song of your career?
It's in the Guinness Book of Records. It went to No. 1 around the world and started my life.
It's the song people sing in my face at airports and everywhere I go. When they recognize my sideburns they sing ... (croons in low, gravelly voice) ... 'please release me, let me go.'
It's as fresh today as it was when I recorded it.
I've done all kinds of music — dance music, disco — but ballads are my forte. The romantic scene is my scene. I've stayed with it all these many years.
Is it true guitar legend Jimi Hendrix once opened your show?
It's true. We toured in the U.K. Jimi was getting known and they were trying to promote him, so they put him with 'name' people who could make his talent visible.
What was that like?
Amazing. One day my guitarist didn't show up and Jimi says 'Don't worry man! I'll play for you!' and that was amazing. I had Jimi Hendrix playing my music onstage!
Am I hearing you correctly? Jimi Hendrix, the psychedelic guitar god of the 1960s, played back-up on schmoozy love songs like "Release Me" and "The Last Waltz?"
He did the whole show!
When he opened for The Monkees that same year, he got booed off stage. Monkees fans had no interest in a guy who blasted them with power chords and simulated sex with his guitar. How did your fans react?
"Totally amazing. The people thought he was unusual — an off-the-wall act because he used to burn his guitar and smash his amplifier. But that's was the happening in those days.
So there's you, wooing women with strategic pelvic thrusts and sideburns, and Jimi Hendrix burning guitars as your opening act?
Of course. Yeah. I just wish I had one of his broken guitars now. I would have kept it as a souvenir.
And then, when he was finished burning his guitar, you would come on stage and do "Release Me?"
(Big laugh) Yeah, that's right. It was a different thing for my audience.
Tell me about your relationships with Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Tom Jones. You guys all came from the same hunky crooner tradition. There must have been some rivalry.
"Dean was probably one of the nicest people I ever met in show business. He took me under his wing. I played one of the hotels he owned. We dined quite a lot. We were good friends.
Tom Jones and I shared the same manager. I think he's a great talent.
He was one of the greatest, most affectionate people I have ever met.
When I first met him, he didn't shake my hand, he embraced me. And I thought "My god, I'm embracing the King of Rock and Roll!" I couldn't believe it. We became friends.
Later on, in a book about his life, they mentioned who he liked in show business and he said he liked Engelbert Humperdinck because I reminded him of the twin brother he lost at birth.''
Did I read somewhere that Elvis stole your sideburns?
"I was the first with the sideburns, so therefore I honestly can tell you that not only did Elvis take them, but so did The Beatles and Glen Campbell and Kenny Rogers ... (pause) ... everybody grew sideburns after The Hump!
So where did The Hump get the idea in the first place?
I did it at the beginning — I was trying to choose an image.
At that particular time my manager (Gordon Mills) said "Shave them off — they look ridiculous!" and I said "No, Gordon, this is part of the image I'm trying to create and people can talk about it."
And of course people did. It started the ball rolling and my sideburns became the Engelbert Humperdinck look ... (laughs) ... people like Bob Hope would say "Engelbert looks as if he's on the phone all the time."
I don't get it.
I had these big black sideburns and looked as if I had a phone up to my ear.
And now it's 50 years later and, other than Tom Jones, you're the last man standing. Seems like a lot of pressure.
I was saddened by the fact that my dear friends are gone. What can I say? I'm just happy I'm still able to share my talent with the world.
I never think about retirement. It doesn't even enter my mind.
Did you ever imagine you would be 80 with women still throwing underwear at you on stage?
I can't believe it ... (laughs) ... it's kind of sparse now. They don't throw it as much as they used to.
At one time I could collect big trunks full of them, but now I think they're saving money.
Thursday (Oct. 6), 8 p.m.
Centre in the Square, Kitchener.
Call 519-578-1570 or go to www.centreinthesquare.com