Engelbert Humperdinck recalls lessons learned from Dean Martin, Elvis
JANUARY 10, 2016 BY TONY VIOLANTI, Villages-News.Com, January 10, 2016
It was 1967, the year of “The Summer of Love.” Hippies went to San Francisco wearing flowers in their hair. The Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper.” Jimi Hendrix soared with his breakthrough album, “Are You Experienced.”
And a well-traveled 28-year old romantic singer called Gerry Dorsey was looking for a hit and gimmick after a decade of struggle.
It all happened when his manager gave him the name Engelbert Humperdinck — after the Austrian composer of “Hansel & Gretel” — and he cut a single called “Release Me.”
The tender, sad ballad raced up the charts and kept the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane” single out of the No. 1 spot in England. Before long, Engelbert was touring with Hendrix. “That was a lot of fun” he said. “Jimi was wonderful.”
So was “Release Me.”
“It was a magical song for me that just kept selling and selling,” the man known as Engelbert said in a telephone interview this week. He performs Wednesday at 7 p.m. in The Sharon. He also plays on Tuesday night at 7 in the Mount Dora Community Theater. For information go to www.MountDoralive.com
“I had no idea ‘Release Me’ would be a hit,” Engelbert said. “I was totally surprised and grateful that it became the No. 1 record in the world.”
To see him perform it:
The single was selling over 100,000 copies a day at one point. All this was heady stuff for a scuffling pop singer from Leicester, England.
“I was starving,” Engelbert said. “I started singing at 17 and I didn’t make any money until I was 28. It was a struggle but I never gave up.”
Those hard years helped mold a performer who would sell over 150 million records. During the 1970s, Engelbert became a worldwide smash as a romantic balladeer. He had his own television show, played the biggest clubs in Vegas and throughout the world.
The hits included: “The Last Waltz,” “After the Lovin’” “A Man Without Love,” “Am I That Easy to Forget” and “There Goes My Everything.”
And he never forgot his long road to success.
“The struggle gave me confidence and an understanding of the business,” Engelbert said. “There are a lot of so-called one-hit wonders, who have a big hit and then disappear. I learned a lot through my experience that you have to keep working hard, change with the times and grow as a performer.
“You never know how long a career will last. It depends on your tenacity and knowing what an audience wants and giving it to them.”
One singer who befriended him and helped teach those lessons was Dean Martin.
“He was a tremendous actor and stage performer,” Engelbert said. “Dean would never rehearse. He would show up and use cue cards, but he was always perfect. No one else could do that, the way Dean did it. He was extremely nice to me.”
A big lesson from Martin was to act out a song.
“I love performing and I consider myself an actor on stage,” Engelbert said. “I don’t just sing lyrics. I use stage techniques and movements with the song.”
He also learned from another friend – Elvis.
“I consider Elvis the greatest performer I’ve ever seen in my life,” Engelbert said. “He was such a genuine person and nice guy. He had great humility and charisma. I learned a lot of from him and I stole from him. You know what they say, if you’re going to steal from a performer, steal from the best. Elvis was the best.”
Today, one of the singers Engelbert admires is Lady Gaga.
“She’s one of the most powerful performers out there and she has a great voice,” he said. “I love the way she acts out her songs on stage. She sounds great singing with Tony Bennett. Tony picked a good singing partner.”
Engelbert doesn’t just live in the past. He recently released an album, “Runaway Country.” About a year ago he released a duets album “Engelbert Calling.” It featured him with such artists as Elton John, Willie Nelson, Johnny Mathis, Cliff Richard Neil Sedaka, Lulu, and Gene Simmons of KISS.
Engelbert has been married for nearly 50 years to Patricia and they have 4 children and 9 grandchildren. His son, Scott Dorsey, acts as Engelbert’s manager.
At 79, he still looks forward to singing and the future.
“You know how it is with age, you can’t do anything about it,” he said.
And the same could be said for the name.
“He’s been called everything from Pumpernickel to Humpty Dumpty,” according to the Washington Post. “Dean Martin never called me Engelbert. He always called me, ‘Hey, Humpty Bumpy, Lumpty Dumpy.’”
Whatever you call him, Mr. Dorsey or Mr. Humperdinck is having a grand time on stage.
“I’m happy and I’m going to keep singing,” he said.
LAST CHANCE TO ORDER FOR DELIVERY BY CHRISTMAS!
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for you or the Engelbert fan in your life?
Engelbert's Runaway Country CD and Christmas CD make the ideal gift for that someone special. Please place your order by December 17th in order to guarantee delivery in the US by Christmas. The CDs may be purchased via this link.
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EH Washington Post Interview
He’s been called Humpty Dumpty, but he once beat out the Beatles
By Laura Hambleton December 14 at 2:32 PM, Washington Post
He was born Arnold George Dorsey, in India, where his British father was working as an engineer. But he achieved worldwide fame with the unlikely name of Engelbert Humperdinck, and his Vegas-style love ballads and lamb-chop sideburns. Now 79 and still giving concerts, Humperdinck says he watches “The Voice” to see what young people sing and follows a daily regimen of exercise and crossword puzzles to keep mind and body healthy.
About his name, he says a manager suggested it in the 1960s, and he’s been called everything from Pumpernickel to Humpty Dumpty as a result. (It’s also the same as a 19th century German composer.) “Dean Martin never called me Engelbert. He always called me, ‘Hey, Humpty Bumpy, Lumpty Dumpy.’ ” Humperdinck likes to say he once bumped the Beatles from the top of the charts with his 1967 song “Release Me.”
He recently spoke to The Post from his home in Los Angeles, where he lives most of the year. Below is an edited transcript of his remarks.
You’re 79. How do you get ready for performances? Has that changed as you’ve aged?
Not really. If I’m playing at any distance [from home]. I like to get to the venue the day before so I can have a good rest, wake up fresh for the concert. I go over for a sound check about 3 o’clock. I stay there at the venue. I shower. I warm up in the shower. Steam helps the vocal cords.
I don’t do any scales. I still have a 3 1/2 -octave range, which is rather large.
How have you maintained that?
I’ve been lucky. As you get older, you get a very slow vibrato. My vibrato seems to have disappeared, rather than gotten slower.
How do you learn to improve?
My career is 48 years old. I am still learning on a daily basis how to improve my performance. What I do is to stay in tune with what’s happening in today’s world. The only way to do that is to watch the shows on television and see what the young people are doing today. Shows like “The Voice.”
It seems these people are given proper direction in order to win their way in the world. They do songs for today’s markets. I listen to those sort of things and see what’s happening. Sometimes I give my own judgments, sitting in my chair: “I think you should do this and do that.”
They don’t give body language or mic technique help [on most of those shows]. A lot of people put the mic right up to their mouths. That bothers me. I think people should see your face and read what you are trying to portray by looking at your face rather than just listening to a sound.
You are like an actor on a stage. You don’t see an actor on the stage with a mic in his face. You’re reading his facial expression. That’s what counts: body language, facial expression, eye contact, these sorts of things. I consider myself a thespian of song. When I am onstage, I act the song out. People can see what I am doing with my face and body language.
That is what has kept me in a long career. People understand what I am saying.
Is that your trademark?
It is something I’ve learned when you’ve seen people onstage of value like an Elvis, who had tremendous body language and facial expression. He was a genius.
What young artists do you listen to?
I don’t know that many young performers. Being in my category in my age group, I stay with people who have had long-lasting careers, the Elton Johns, Lady Gagas.
Bruno Mars is a very good performer. I think he’s great.
I think the Stones have had a long-lasting career. I love watching them. They bring magic to the stage. They have for so many years. They are still around and still at the top of their careers.
How do you describe yourself as a performer?
I have a sense of humor. I think that is important to a person’s life. I make fun of myself. You would, too, if you had a funny name like mine. People have called me all kinds of names — like Pumpernickel, which is bread. Humpty Dumpy. Dean Martin never called me by Engelbert. He always called me “Hey, Humpty Bumpy, Lumpty Dumpy.”
Dean was very instrumental in my career. When I first came to America, he took me to Las Vegas, to prestigious places in order to get my career a boost. He took me to all these hotels. The one I ended up playing was owned by Dean Martin. I played there nine years.
He not only gave me a boost by putting his name on the marquee — “Dean Martin presents” — we became good friends. I did his show and he did mine. It was wonderful. A great relationship.
Do you miss those years?
Those were the golden years. I did play with the greats, with the Ray Charleses and people like that. I knew Elvis very well. I didn’t get to sing with him, but I knew him very well. I enjoyed his mastery, his masterful performances onstage. I learned a lot from watching him.
One thing he did take from me is my sideburns. I told him to.
Do you miss that younger man in sideburns?
I still have my sideburns. I can’t do without those. People make fun of me, saying in my younger years, “Engelbert looks as though he is always on the phone.”
They were very good to me because it was image. I had my own hairstyle with sideburns. I had a funny name. All that put together made up Engelbert Humperdinck the singer.
Do you still have the same drive after all these years on stage?
I worked a lot more in the early days. I had more time to polish things. When I first started, I used to do 300 [shows] a year. It was too much. It took away my home life, took away from enjoying my life, when I was working. Show business is tough on performers. One hour onstage is like 16 hours of manual labor, physically and mentally. Now, I do 90 concerts a year.
I am not as fit as I used to be 40 years ago, [though] I can still do the things I did in my early 30s and 40s. I play tennis and golf. I touch the bag, now and again.
What is your typical day?
I go downstairs, I have my cup of coffee, I do two crosswords from an English newspaper my secretary downloads. I have my breakfast. I might go on a bike ride. Then I will go for 20 minutes on a treadmill to keep my body in shape.
To enjoy my life, I do have my Harley, which I ride in the hills of L.A. to feel the wind in my face. My other pastime is golf — and tennis. Apart from those, I love television. I love watching repeats. I love comedy — “Seinfeld,” “Two and a Half Men.”
You’ve been married about 50 years. Do you sing to your wife?
Oh, yeah, I try things on her. She does give comments. She has been my judge and jury over the years. I couldn’t have chosen a better lady to be by my side. It’s been 50 years.
You said you write poems.
I wrote one the other day. Do you want to hear it?
Yes, I do.
At times I dream I am on the ocean
No destination in view
Floating like a timber, torn away from its earthly roots
The water rocks me gently as I try to sleep
The pitter-patter of a ripple, softly touching my cheeks
Gazing at the sky above, my mind adrift in silent wonder
On a rolling veil of tears, or so it seems
As I toss and tumble through the waves, I ask God
to pave the way to where it is calm
and softening the haste and the harm
I pray that peace beholds the holy land we live
And love waits to cradle you safely to your heart and home.
I have a very sensitive and emotional side to me.
That’s it. That’s my life.
Jozi fans love Engelbert Humperdinck
After a short illness earlier this week, legendary crooner, Engelbert Humperdinck was on stage at the Teatro last night delighting an almost capacity crowd who enthusiastically welcomed this musical icon to Johannesburg. The audience burst into applause as they heard the first notes of many of his ever-popular hits such as (Please) Release Me, Spanish Eyes and The Last Waltz. Engelbert Humperdinck had the crowd singing along with great enthusiasm to a host of hits, many of which are sure to hold many special memories for his local fans.
To avoid disappointment, music lovers and fans who don’t yet have tickets to the Engelbert Humperdinck concert at the Teatro are encouraged to book now at Computicket for tonight’s concert or Friday’s concert which was added to the Johannesburg tour dates in lieu of Monday night’s postponed concert. Patrons who have valid tickets for Monday night’s concert are reminded that their tickets are automatically valid for this Friday’s concert. Presentation of tickets dated 23 November at Friday's concert will be accepted. Ticket holders with tickets for Monday’s postponed concert who are unable to make Friday’s concert may take their tickets to a Computicket service centre to exchange their tickets for tonight’s concert subject to availability in the same price category or they may request a full refund. All exchanges and refunds will be facilitated at a Computicket service centre. Unfortunately website ticket transactions cannot be reversed on line.
The 90 minute concert is more than a trip down memory lane. It’s a musical experience in the company of one of the world’s greatest singers. Don’t miss it! Book now for tonight or Friday night’s concerts at Computicket on 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket service centre. Details available at www.montecasino.co.za and www.showtime.co.za
Venue: Teatro at Montecasino
Dates and times:
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 at 8pm
Friday, 27 November 2015 at 8pm
R500, R550, R650, R750, R850
Debbi de Souza
Review: Engelbert Humperdinck
Engelbert Humperdinck is 79 years old, but after almost two hours of crooning and plenty of moves, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s an evening of his best-known hits, a couple of covers and some of his new material – the perfect mix of old and new to provide a brilliant night’s entertainment.
Cape Town is not known for having good, interactive, audiences but at GrandWest Engelbert Humperdinck proved that statement a fallacy.
Maybe it’s a generational thing, because let’s be honest, the audience was of a more ‘mature’ age. That didn’t stop them from singing along, as Humperdinck sang his way through his greats like “Quando, Quando, Quando”, “Spanish Eyes” and “The Last Waltz”. The audience was like a mass choir.
There was plenty of teen-esque screaming, too, when Humperdinck stripped off his jacket and tie and undid a couple of buttons as things got hotter. His sequined belt and pants stripes sparkled in the simple but pretty stage lighting.
Nevertheless, this was a concert about the music. Humperdinck was accompanied by a full band, including a grand piano and two young blonde-bombshell backing singers. At one point, they joined him – sporting a cowboy hat – for a fabulous song from his latest album, Runaway Country, complete with some line dancing.
Screens to the sides of the stage showed footage from his younger days. He still has the sideburns and the personality, cracking jokes and telling stories from his over forty years in the music industry.
He sang a fabulous rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”, and a beautiful duet with (a recorded) Elton John of his hit “Something About The Way You Look Tonight”. Humperdinck has collaborated with a number of stars, including Elton John, Willie Nelson and Johnny Mathis on his album Humperdinck Calling.
One thing’s for sure, Engelbert Humperdinck may be turning 80 next year, but he’s still a consummate showman with a voice to pull your heartstrings. Judging by the throng of screaming ladies who rushed the stage as he threw red handkerchiefs at the end of the show, he hasn’t lost his sex appeal either!
RESCHEDULED CONCERT - TONIGHT JOHANNESBURG
Due to slight chest infection EH Drs have ordered one complete days vocal rest.
Tonights concert in Johannesburg has been rescheduled to Friday Nov 27.
Tickets will be honoured on Friday or contact the point of purchase for a full refund
EH is sad not to be performing tonight but looks forward to entertaining his South African fans very soon and apologises for any inconvenience caused by this.
Wed and Thursday performances are scheduled to go ahead as planned.
Engelbert Radio Interview on Cliff Central
Engelbert Humperdinck Does An Ed Sheeran Song Live
Music legend Engelbert Humperdinck is performing Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ on his current Australian tour and he says he is a big fan of Ed’s.
“This kid is going to be around a long, long time because he is humble,” Engelbert tells Noise11.com. “He is very nice to people. He is not conceited. He has all this talent and now he must have an awful lot of money and he is still a nice guy. I hope he remains that way because I’m a big fan”.
Engelbert puts his own unique style into the Ed Sheeran song. “I hope the audience like my version of his song. It is different,” he says. “I do sing it a little different obviously but he made his mark with it and there are other performers who enjoy doing other people’s material, especially if it’s a great song. I do enjoy singing other people’s material now and then”.
Ed Sheeran is managed by Elton John’s management company and Elton makes a video cameo at the Engelbert show when they perform their duet ‘Something About The Way You Look Tonight’. The two go way back.
Elton is a sweet guy. He is just a lovely man. The funny thing with Elton, we were in the studio for over an hour just talking about old times and how we first met. I met him on a plane from LA on the way to London. He was sitting in front. I was very shy in the early days and wanted to go over and say hello to him. Later I was looking out the window and I felt someone sit on the handle of my chair. It was Elton. ‘Hey how are you?’ he said and it took so much pressure off me. This big man came over to talk to me and I should have gone over to talk to him. I was the shy one. I was so happy that he came over and spoke to me and we have been friends ever since”.
by PAUL CASHMERE on OCTOBER 29, 2015
REVIEW: Engelbert Humperdinck Plays Melbourne
They don’t make stars like Engelbert Humperdinck anymore. Once upon a time fame came from talent, not celebrity and Engelbert Humperdinck is one of the greatest talents of the past half a century. To be in the presence of a star like Engelbert Humperdinck is to be in the presence of greatness.
Engelbert is a few years shy of the 50th anniversary of his first hit ‘Release Me’ (1967) but over the course of a two-hour show gives the audience a lifetime of memories.
Engelbert’s hit songs like ‘The Last Waltz’, ‘After The Lovin’, ‘There Goes My Everything’, ‘A Man Without Love’ and ‘Am I That Easy To Forget’ are some of the greatest hits of all time and essential to the show. ‘Release Me’ kept The Beatles ‘Penny Lane’ from going to number one ending a consecutive run of number ones for the Fab Four started in their early days. However, it’s the new songs that give an Engelbert show its 21st century relevance.
Just as he was championed by Dean Martin at the start of his career Engelbert Humperdinck recognises new talent coming through and acknowledges Ed Sheeran as one of the great talents of today who will be around in 50 years from now. Engelbert performs Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ as part of his 2015 show in his own unique style taking the young Sheeran’s work to a whole new audience.
Ed Sheeran is attached to Elton John’s management company and Engelbert also links to his long-time friend Elton with their duet ‘Something About The Way You Tonight’ synched with Elton’s voice for the show. The song was the nucleus of his previous album ‘Engelbert Calling’.
Engelbert’s new album ‘Runaway Country’ is also showcased in the show. For ‘Runaway Country’ Engelbert returns to his country roots. The title track ‘Runaway’ is one of the finest moments in song Engelbert has recorded in years and proudly sits inside the 2015 setlist as a highlight of the show.
The new album ‘Runaway Country’ also features Engelbert interpretations of Boz Scaggs’ stunning ‘Look What You’ve Done To Me’ and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’. The Scaggs song sounds tailor-made for Engelbert’s romantic style. He has a lot of fun with the Springsteen song, donning the cowboy hat and attempting to line-dance for the number.
The 2015 Engelbert Humperdinck show is different from the previous tours. There is a funny and well placed Kardashian comment, an hilarious video with Eddie Izzard about how he got his name and historic footage from a Dean Martin Show showing a young Engelbert at the start of his career in what may very well be the first time the world saw him endorsed by a prior legend.
Enjoy Engelbert in 2015. He will be back. As he told me in an interview earlier this week “why would I retire? What else would I do?”
Engelbert Humperdinck setlist, Melbourne, October 29, 2015
Another Time Another Place
Am I That Easy To Forget
A Man Without Love
After The Lovin’
Quando Quando Quando
The Hungry Years
Something About The Way You Look Tonight
Look What You’ve Done To Me
Thinking Out Loud
The Power of Love
I’m On Fire
How I Love You
The Last Waltz
This Moment In Time
The Way It Used To Be
There Goes My Everything
For The Good Times
by PAUL CASHMERE on OCTOBER 30, 2015
Nearing 80, Engelbert Humperdinck is as smooth now as ever
For his 81st album, Engelbert Humperdinck decided to go country.
The veteran crooner recorded “Runaway Country,” his first album of all-country tunes, which will also mark the debut of his own label Spin Records.
“Runaway” will be one of four numbers from the new album that Humperdinck performs 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Concert Venue at Harrah’s Resort.
“These are some of my favorite country songs — I decided to put them all on one album,” he says. “We’ll see what kind of reaction it gets out of the audience. That’s the main part — if the audience likes it.”
Having sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide, the former Arnold George Dorsey doesn’t have to worry too much about finding crowd-pleasing material to perform.
His best-known songs include “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again),” a country-tinged cover that was his first big hit back in 1967, as well as “There Goes My Everything,” “The Last Waltz,” “A Man Without Love” and “After the Lovin.’”
At this point in his long career, Humperdinck thought the timing right to strike out on his own with his label.
“In today’s world, record companies are falling down like flies,” he says. “This way, you have something that represents you, that you can sell on the Internet and your own website. It’s easier to do it that way. Therefore, in this modern world, you can go that particular route.”
The last few years have proven prolific for Humperdinck. Last fall, he released “Engelbert Calling,” a two-disc duets album featuring contributions from Elton John, Willie Nelson, Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard and Gene Simmons, among nearly two dozen singing partners.
The record was inspired by a comment John, who performs “Something About The Way You Look Tonight,” once made on one of his own live albums.
“He said, I wrote a song many years ago when I was a struggling artist living in a flat in London and waiting for a person like Engelbert Humperdinck to come along and take the song,” he says.
This time around, Humperdinck picked up the phone to see if John was available.
“I never called then, but I called him a few years back to see about doing a duet on my album,” Humperdinck recalls. “I said, ‘I know it’s been a long time coming,’ and he said yes.
“He was the first one and that was great. Once you’ve got Elton, you’ve got the honeycomb.”
Next spring, Humperdinck will hit yet another milestone when he turns 80. He plans to sit down with his manager-son Scott Dorsey at the end of 2015 to chart out how to mark “the big year.”
One thing’s for certain, Humperdinck won’t be announcing his retirement.
“That word doesn’t even come into my head,” he says. “Fortunately, my genes are good and people don’t think I look my age, and I’m rather thrilled about it.”
Nor does he worry about his chops.
“My voice hasn’t really changed or waned — I’m touching wood as I say this, but there’s been no change. It’s as powerful as it was.
“The good thing is that I’ve learned a lot more.”
WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10
WHERE: The Concert Venue, Harrah’s Resort, 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Atlantic City
HOW MUCH: Tickets, priced at $45, $55 and $65, are available at Harrah’s box office and Ticketmaster
Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 3:45 pm
ROBERT DiGIACOMO, At The Shore, Press of Atlantic City.com