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
Engelbert Humperdinck on Elvis, success, and keys to his longevity
"I had trunks full of them," laughs singer Engelbert Humperdinck, recalling the way female fans used to throw underwear and hotel keys at him. "I'm not joking. Everyone thinks Tom Jones started that. No, I did!"
Born Arnold George Dorsey on May 2, 1936, in Chennai, India, the ninth of ten children, his family relocated to Leicester, England, ten years later.
Following an army discharge in 1956, he signed with the British Decca label. His first single, "I'll Never Fall In Love Again," failed to sell, as did all of his subsequent recordings for them. However, in 1967, with a new manager and name, his reworking of the old Ester Phillips hit "Release Me," became a huge seller and established him as an international singing star, something he remains to this day.
Some of his best-known hits over the years include "After The Lovin'," "A Man Without Love," "The Last Waltz" and "There Goes My Everything." His latest album, "Engelbert Calling," features duets with some of the world's best known singers, including Elton John, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick and Johnny Mathis.
Humperdinck will be performing at Morristown, New Jersey’s Mayo Center on October, 6th, The Count Basie in Red Bank, NJ October, 7th, Westbury, New York’s NYCB Theatre, October 9th, and Harrah’s in Atlantic City, N.J., October 10th.
He says, “I'll be singing some of my standards, songs from my new album, as well as some new songs from other artists. It will be a lively evening, very entertaining, with a touch of humor."
Just be on the lookout for the possibly of flying female underwear and nametagged keyrings.
Elliot Stephen Cohen: This may seem like a ridiculous question to begin with, but do you prefer interviewers to address you as Mr. Dorsey or Mr. Humperdinck?
Engelbert Humperdinck: You know, you can't mix up the names, otherwise people won't know who I am. So, it's Engelbert, or Enge, or whatever you prefer.
ESC: I'm sure you've gone over the story of the origin of your stage name many times, but since many of our younger readers may be unaware, can you relate how it happened?
EH: Sure. I've been successful with the name for about 48 years, thank God. Before that, I tried getting recognized with my real name, Dorsey, but nothing happened. Then in 1965, my manager and good friend Gordon Mills, who is not on this earth any more, changed my name to Engelbert Humperdinck, which was the name of a German composer who passed in 1920. Since no else, at least that I was aware of had taken the name, I was on my way as Engelbert Humperdinck.
ESC: Since then we've had very successful performers who've changed their birth names to ones like Madonna, Prince, Beyoncé, but were you concerned that because of your new name, some critics might perceive you as a novelty act, or one-hit wonder?
EH: Yes, you're right. The name did sound like a novelty, but when I first starting in the business, many people felt they had to change their names to get recognized, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, even John Wayne was born with a different name, My manager also came up with the names for Tom Jones and Gilbert O'Sullivan, and we all owe him a great deal for our successes.
ESC: Of course, most of the early British rockers had names like Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Alvin Stardust, Marty Wilde...
EH: Oh, yeah, they all had these managers who thought up these genius names for them, and they all became successful. I mean, I would have loved to become famous with my real name. My father and mother would have been totally proud that I was carrying the family name and being recognized all over the world, but that didn't transpire. So, therefore, changing my name made it possible to get recognized.
ESC: It's obviously worked well for you.
EH: Yes, it certainly has, but you know my success was really a combination of things. At that particular time, I thought a lot about what my image should be, and the Beatles came to mind. How did they make a name for themselves? They all had the same sort of unusual hairstyle. Even Yul Brynner got famous for his bald head, and Tony Curtis had his own hairstyle. People were getting recognized by their heads and the way they looked. So, in 1965 I decided to grow my sideburns long and color my hair jet black. It was all a combination of having that image, plus the name, and just like picking the right lottery number, picking the song "Release Me.” That record by the way, is in the Guinness Book of Records for being successful enough to stop the Beatles from having their 13th consecutive number one. Having my first number one record around the world gave me a global career immediately.
ESC: You have a new album "Engelbert Calling" which can be obtained through the Internet. As most of the big record chains like Tower, Virgin and HMV have folded, do you miss the days of all those huge record shops?
EH: Yes, it's a world that doesn't exist any more. I personally think it's sad that they're all gone because it was fun when you could actually go to a record store, look around to see who was in the Top Ten, and you could play a record to first see if you wanted to buy it. That was an exciting time in our lives, but they've taken away those Saturday mornings when you could go out and do your music shopping.
ESC: On your album, you sing with a pretty impressive list of singers. Were all of the recordings done separately or were any of them done “live,” face to face, the way duet albums used to be made?
EH: Some of them were done “live,” like the track I did with Elton who was actually the originator of the album. I'll tell you how it came about. I was listening to a live album of Elton's, and on it he says, "I wrote this song many years ago when I was a struggling artist, living in a small flat with my partner. We were waiting and hoping for an Engelbert Humperdinck to come along and make (one of my songs) a hit for us." That was a very flattering thing to hear, but unfortunately I was unaware of Elton at that particular time.
ESC: It must have been great to finally get a chance to record with him.
EH: Yes, I called him a few years ago and asked him to do this duet with me, and he agreed immediately. He's such a wonderful man. He came into the studio with me and of course once you've got Elton John, you've got the honeycomb. It was just so wonderful to have him in the studio. He's just an amazing talent and an amazing attraction. So t really helped me with my album. We didn't actually record right way, but talked for a couple of hours about old times, because we more or less started out around the same time.
ESC: What do you remember most about the time when you were also a struggling new artist?
EH: I used to go to a place in London called Tin Pan Alley where all of the music publishers were. Me and a lot of the other struggling artists would wind up in a coffee bar across the road. We were all looking for songs that might help you get a career, or at least a recording contract. Groups like The Moody Blues would also be there, but their career took off much sooner than mine.
ESC: Were there any other singers who recorded “live” with you for the album?
EH: To my surprise, the great Gene Simmons from KISS came in to record with me. He was truly an exciting person to have in the studio, believe me. You know, I'm six-one, but he's about three inches taller than me, just a giant of a man with a great sense of humor, and just brought a great deal of pizzazz to the recording.
ESC: On the album you also have Cliff Richard, who must have been a major hero of yours, growing up in England.
EH: Well yeah, the funny thing is, Cliff was a major star in the '50s at the same time when Elvis came in. Cliff has probably had more number one hit singles than anyone else in the world. I used to be an opening act for Cliff and now all of these years later, he agreed to be on a duet with me. So that was quite a thrill for me. He still looks great. He's like the Peter Pan of the industry.
ESC: I'm sure one artist you would have loved to have had on your album, would be Elvis Presley, who was also a fan of yours. What memories do you have of Elvis?
EH: I first met Elvis around 1972, and we hit if off immediately. When I saw his long sideburns, I said, "Elvis, those are mine." (Laughs.) I brought the long sideburn look to this country and around the world in fact, but getting back to Elvis, meeting him was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. We talked about our careers, and I said, "You know, Elvis, I've got a lot of your albums. I listen to you a lot, and I've learned a lot from listening to you." He said, "Well, I've got all your albums, 'cause I've recorded some of your songs, too." Therefore it was a mutual sort of feeling of getting together...what they call a mutual admiration society.
ESC: Did you meet him other times, or just that once?
EH: No, no, quite a few times. Actually, I last saw him just three months before he passed, and he really looked bad then, but you know I wish I was close enough to him to have said, "Elvis, what are you doing to yourself?" However for man of that stature, it was difficult for me, who'd only been successful for a little while compared to him, to say that, but now I wish I had.
ESC: Did you have any premonition at the time that he looked like he wasn't going to be alive much longer unless he got some professional help?
EH: You know, I never ever thought, "He's not going to be around much longer," but I did think he looked pretty poorly, compared to when I first met him. He looked very bloated and was sweating a lot. It looked dangerously … dangerous at that moment. When I think about it now, I wish somebody had locked him up somewhere, like on a desert island where he couldn’t get a hold of the (drugs) that were killing him. Let him stay there for a year, get clean, and then come back. It was really a very sad loss, knowing that this man who had been a such a rock to the industry, had to disappear so quickly, but up to his very last shows, his voice was still unbelievable. Even in his sad condition, he was still hitting some big, big, notes, and was putting his heart and soul into his performance.
ESC: You and Elvis were born just one year apart, yet Elvis is gone 38 years now. What do you credit most for your surviving the madness that goes with massive fame that Elvis couldn't? Your long-time marriage, Christian faith....
EH: I have to first be honest with you. I'm not really a "Goody-Two-Shoes," as far as my lifestyle is concerned. I love a good drink, and in the early years, I drank a little too much, but I've learned how to cope. I know when I've had enough … when to stop. I've never been into drugs, which really is good, and that's helped keep me healthy and well … able to cope with the work that I do around the world, about 90 concerts a year now.
ESC: What do you credit for your 51-year marriage, which is almost unheard of in show business terms?
EH: I know it is, but I met Patricia in 1956, when she was 17, and I had just come out of the British Army. We've been together ever since, and I think it all comes down to one word which is used in songs all over the world all the time, and it's the word called love. I do love her, and we've been happy all these many years.
ESC: In 1967, you were sharing a bill with Jimi Hendrix, which seems such an unlikely musical pairing. Were you opening for him, or was it the other way around?
EH: No, he was opening for me. I'll tell you why that happened; they were just introducing Jimi to Europe. So, what they did was to put him on a bill with someone like me who was already well-known in England, to give him some publicity. Not that he needed it, because he was really already becoming a star in his own right.
ESC: Didn't he also play guitar for you from backstage, on one show when your guitarist didn't show up?
EH: Yes, he came up to me and said, "Don't worry, man. I'll play for you." I mean to have Jimi Hendrix play for me.. I just wish that someone was there to record or film it. What a nice man he was. You know, he wore those old army-type of jackets. So, one day on the tour I said, "Jimi, that's a lovely jacket." He said, "Do you want it? I'll give it to you?" I said, "No. I didn't mention it for that reason." (Laughs.) He really had a big heart.
ESC: Being that you lived in England during the '60s when there was such an explosion of great rock groups, did you have any interaction with any of the Beatles or Rolling Stones?
EH: No, I'm afraid not. Mind you, the Beatles and myself and Cliff all lived in the same area in London, a place called Georgia Hill, within about a half mile radius of each other, and we'd just see each other going in the main gates in our back-windowed cars, usually Roll Royces. It was just fun living so close to greats like them at that particular time.
ESC: You've had some pretty rabid female fans over the years. What's the wildest experience you've had with someone who was obsessed to meet you?
EH: Oh, gosh, there've been so many instances. Mostly you'd find strange women in your hotel rooms. They'd pay the people who worked there, or else they'd wait till somebody making up your room would go out for moment to get something, and then they'd sneak in and hide. That used to happen to me a lot in the early days. When you'd check in, you'd get a shock seeing a strange face in your room, when you opened it.
ESC: After more than a half century of singing, on your recent shows critics are still praising how remarkable your voice sounds. To what do you attribute keeping your voice in such great shape?
EH: I don't know. I just think I've been very fortunate because as you get older, your vibrato slows down and you lose your range, but when you see me live, you'll know that mine hasn't ... .well, maybe a half step, but my vibrato hasn't slowed down. The longer you live, the more experience you get, and you learn what you have to do to stay in the limelight. So, therefore, to stay relevant in today's world, I don't sing exactly like I used to. I'm singing a little different now ... a more commercial, contemporary way.
ESC: Could you have possibly imagined 50 years ago that, at 79 you'd still be a major headliner?
EH: No, never. When you grow up you have your dreams. I was hoping to be a star, but I never dreamed my career would turn out like this. I just thought that England would be the extent of my work, but I've traveled around the world several times and been in practically every country. I know how to say "Good Evening" in every language by the way. (Laughs.)
ESC: You've made some great hit records over the years but, would you agree probably the most unusual one was "Lesbian Seagull." How did that come about?
EH: Well, (in 1996) the producers of the film "Beavis and Butthead Come To America" came to see my show at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles. They told me afterward that they enjoyed my performance and sense of humor and asked if I'd sing a song for their movie. They sent me the sheet music. I thought the melody and lyrics were great. It shows that all species have choices, and we have to respect that. I recorded the song, and it went platinum. So, what can you say about that ? It has it's moment.
ESC: Tom Jones, Cliff Richard and other British contemporaries of yours have already been knighted by the Queen. When are we going to see Sir Engelbert Humperdinck added to that list?
EH: I'm just waiting for the Queen to recognize me in that vein. As I mentioned, I served in the British Army, which they didn't. I don't know what the procedure is for getting knighted. I can wait. I'm not in a hurry, but of course I would be thrilled if it did happen.
ESC: Maybe your many fans can start a Facebook campaign that the Queen might hear about.
EH: Maybe. (Laughs.)
ESC: You've had a great singing career, but do you still have any unfulfilled aspirations, like acting in films?
EH: You know, when I first started my career, I did have aspirations to be an actor as well. Little did I know, after I became popular, my manager at the time was getting scripts from Hollywood without telling me, because movies would have taken away my time from the major tours that were bringing in a lot of money. So, that put an end to my acting career.
ESC: But you're obviously now in a position to try acting, or do whatever you want?
EH: I think it's a little late now for me to try to be an actor. I enjoy what I'm doing right now. Things haven't waned in that direction. So, I want to keep going until God calls me.
October 5, 2015 by Elliott Cohen for Examiner.com
Engelbert Humperdinck Recording Country Album
Lauren Wilde is back producing for Engelbert Humperdinck on what is expected to be a country album from the music legend.
Wilde has previous produced Rod Stewart (American Songbook series), Carly Simon (Moonlight Serenade) and Art Garfunkel (Some Enchanted Evening). He previously worked with Engelbert on ‘Engelbert Calling’ (2014) as vocal producer as well as his 2007 release ‘The Winding Road’.
Engelbert’s country roots can be traced back to his very first hit ‘Release Me’ in 1967. The song was 21 years old by the time Engelbert got hold of it and made it his own.
Eddie Miller wrote ‘Release Me’ in 1946. Miller could not find anyone to record the song so he recorded it himself in 1947.
In 1954 the song was recorded by Ray Price. While not his first record, it became his breakthrough record reached no 6 in the USA.
Engelbert Humperdinck recorded ‘Release Me’ in 1967. It reached no 1 on the UK charts and stopped The Beatles ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’ from topping the British charts for the first time since 1963.
Engelbert Humperdinck dates
October 25, Perth, Crown Theatre
October 29, Melbourne, Palais Theatre
October 30, Sydney, The State Theatre
November 2, Gold Coast, Jupiters Hotel & Casino
by PAUL CASHMERE on SEPTEMBER 21, 2015
Listen here as Engelbert chats to ABC Radio Australia about his "staunch fans" ahead of his Australian tour this year!
'Please Release Me' singer Engelbert Humperdinck set to tour Australia
Engelbert Humperdinck was catapulted onto the world stage in 1967 and managed to knock The Beatles off the top of the charts with his song 'Please Release Me'.
Now he's back and getting ready to tour Australia.
He spoke to Denis Walter about his fame, and what he's up to when he's not on stage.
Interview with Engelbert Humperdinck
Article By: Marilyn Hallett, You’ve Earned It
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 9:38 AM
International music legend, Engelbert Humperdinck returns to South Africa this November for a series of intimate shows.
You've Earned It chatted to Engelbert about some fascinating little-known facts about his life as well as his career as a legendary music icon.
Mr Humperdinck, or may I call you Engelbert? Backtracking to the sixties - you have been a part of my life ever since I was at boarding school in the UK! I remember listening to Top of the Pops every weekend, along with other "Humperdinckers" (his female fans), to Release Me and other chart-busters! So it is a privilege and a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet you today.
I understand that your name comes from the 1911 Austrian composer who wrote "Hansel and Gretel". What was your reason for choosing this particular name?
Way back in 1966, when I was trying to create a style/image, I already knew that I had a different hair style and I wanted a different name! My first manager, Gordon Mills, and I said it would be great to use an old composer’s name.
As it was way before the days of the internet, we couldn’t just "google it", so Gordon did some research and then one day before I was about to go on stage as Gerry Dorsey in Darlington, Gordon called me and said 'your name is now Engelbert Humperdinck!!' I thought it was a group!
You were born in Madras in India and moved to Leicester in the UK as a child. What got you started in the music industry?
I come from a musical family. I had 7 sisters and 2 brothers. My dear Mother and Father used to love to entertain at our house in Madras and apart from Mum playing the violin and Dad playing the swannie whistle… we kids used to supply the entertainment.!
I was shy, but I would sing from behind the curtain or under the table. I was only about 6 years old. India was a magnificent place to grow up. We were very privileged, with my father being in the British Army as we had a huge house with tropical gardens. It was quite magical.!
Few people know that other musical icons started out as opening acts for you in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – can you name a few, and have you retained relationships with any of them?
Jimi Hendrix was a good friend. Jimi was the opening act on a tour with Cat Stevens and myself. He was such a great guy - we used to hang out after the shows. On one occasion, my guitar player didn’t show up and Jimi offered to play my show from behind the curtain.
It sounded like 4 or 5 guitars behind me! I was very sad when he died - not only did the world lose one of its’ finest musicians, but lost one of the nicest guys in the industry.
The Carpenters were my opening act for many years too. Karen would always come and take my (then very young) children out for early morning bike rides when we were performing in Lake Tahoe or Vegas or places like that. Even today, she is still one of my favourite female vocalists of all time.
On researching your background, I read that it was you and not Elvis Presley who made famous the awesome sideburns and flamboyant leather jumpsuits! Did he (Elvis) become your arch-enemy when he "stole" your image?!!
Elvis and I were friends from the second we met. The entire world (including myself) stole things from Elvis and I was flattered when he grew his sideburns back again in the late 60’s and said to me 'Hell boy - if they look good on you, then they are going to look even better on me!'.
I think Elvis and I always enjoyed the more flamboyant stage suits for many years. I guess we were the original "Kings of Bling"!
In the early days, you were stricken by tuberculosis? Did this put you out of action for some time?
Yes - I was in hospital for 6 months (they actually had a priest give me my last rights). I spent a further 6 months recuperating at home. So I was basically out of the business for about a year.
When I came back and started knocking on doors again, all the agents said 'Oh Gerry Dorsey…. He’s "old hat"… 28 years old hat!' Which was another reason to change my name and almost start all over again.
You have been a legend in the international music industry since the sixties. You have sold over 150 million records and you have a world-wide fan base of millions! Out of all your international hits, which is your personal favourite?
It would have to be Release Me. It started my musical life and it was number one around the world – this gave me the ability to have a world market. I still get the chills when I perform it – the hair on my arm stands up when the music starts and the crowd cheers!
We are delighted that you will be coming to South Africa to present the four "Engelbert Calling" concerts to local fans. How have you found the South African audiences?
I have always loved performing in South Africa. The audiences have always been fantastic. I am also proud to have been one of the first international stars to play to NON-segregated audiences. I take my music all over the world from Lebanon to Las Vegas, from Africa to Antarctica - all in the name of love and peace.
Can you tell us a little more about your latest CD "Engelbert Calling" and the names of some of the artists who accompany you in some of the tracks?
Where do I begin? This project was the masterchild of my son and manager Scott. It took about 2 years to put it together, but so many people came on board that we had to make it a double CD.
I was honoured to sing with such legends as Johnny Mathis, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Olivia Newton John, Dionne Warwick, Charles Aznavour, Cliff Richard and Gene Simmons to name but a few.
But it was such a thrill being in the studio with Sir Elton John that really brought it home. I have always been a MASSIVE Elton fan but had only met him in passing in the past.
He was most of the most gracious, comforting and welcoming people I have met. It was a complete honour to record with him. I do the Elton duet as a virtual duet in the concert that I will be bringing to South Africa!
You have four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for "Entertainer of the Year" (1988), 63 gold and 24 platinum records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and yet you have chosen not to retire! Why?
Music is not a job... it is my way of life and you can't retire from your way of life. You can slow down … which I have and recently cut back to doing around 50-60 concerts per year.
I had good stamina training. At one time, we would perform for 1 month straight in Vegas doing 2 shows a night (60 shows), have 1 day off and do the same thing in Tahoe for 2 weeks straight (30 shows)… we were doing over 400 concerts a year!
You represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 in Azerbaijan. You set the record as the oldest singer, at the age of 76, to have ever participated in the contest. Can you tell us a little more about this experience?
It was a huge honour to be asked by the BBC to represent your country in song. I had a fantastic song Love Will Set You Free writen just for this contest.
Prior to the show, everyone was telling me that we were second favourites to win with the public votes and that it was just up "the judges".
Well I came second last, the last spot going to 12 Russian Grannies baking bread and clapping. I guess the judges were just not into my music! However, I did have a great time participating and would do it all over again. Probably. Maybe...!
Release Me spent 56 weeks in the Top 50 and sold 85,000 copies at the height of its popularity. It made the Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic and kept the Beatles from the number one slot in the Top Ten. That must have felt so good! Is Release Me one of your personal favourites, and will it be in your repertoire when you come to South Africa?
Actually it was selling 125,000 units a day at its height! I know as I would call my friend at the record company and ask what we sold that day. It was truly amazing – I had been given a last minute opportunity to perform Release Me on national UK TV on Sunday Night At The London Palladium - it jumped into everyones’ living rooms and introduced Engelbert Humperdinck to the world.
Of course I will be singing it in South Africa. We usually get a pretty good sing-a-long from the audience and I’m expecting my South African audience to be in fine vocal form when I get there!
May we touch on your personal life? You married Patricia Healey in 1964 and you have four children? Do you have grandchildren? And where is home now – still the UK or the USA?
My beautiful wife Patricia and I have 8 amazing grandchildren ranging from George (4) to Ryan (26).
I live most of the time in Los Angeles but visit my home in Leicestershire 3-4 times each year
I understand that you have an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Leicester. And you have been given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester. These are both accolades of the highest order. How does it feel to be honoured by your home town?
It feels amazing and something that I am truly proud of. Apparently I am allowed to walk my herds of sheep through the middle of Leicester with my Freedom Of The City!!
What do you believe is the single, most important reason for your success?
Hard work. I am always trying to better myself and I work hard at trying to achieve perfection... along with a little luck!
Can you describe the off-stage Engelbert Humperdinck to us?
Family man and devoted to my wife, children, grandchildren and friends
Overall, how would you describe your journey to date?
Amazing and one that I don’t want to end… which is another reason not to talk about retiring!
CAPE TOWN Venue: Grand Arena, GrandWest
Date & time: Saturday, 21 November 2015
Ticket prices: R400, R500, R600, R700
JOHANNESBURG Venue: Teatro at Montecasino
Dates & time: Tuesday, 24 November 2015 at 8pm
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 at 8pm
Ticket prices: R500, R550, R650, R750, R850
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