5 questions with Engelbert Humperdinck before his Staten Island gigBy
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- There was a brief period in the '90s when Engelbert Humperdinck changed.
Yeah, he shaved off his signature "chop" sideburns for a minute and got all GQ on us.
Well, in 2015, manly facial hair is back in vogue -- and so is this man's undeniably timeless cool factor.
The enduring Brit-pop heartthrob is best known for his Top 40 Hits "Release Me," "The Last Waltz," "After the Lovin'," "A Man Without Love" and "Quando Quando Quando."
With four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for "Entertainer of the Year," 63 gold and 24 platinum records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this singing septuagenarian might rest easy on his laurels.
In the past few years, this road warrior has joined an elite group of veteran musical artists, Tony Bennett and Burt Bacharach for example, who have crossed over successfully to strike a new chord with a younger generation while retaining their core audiences.
Engelbert brings his current tour to Staten Island's historic St. George Theatre May 12. He took the time to trade emails with me while out on the road promoting his latest recording of superstar duets, "Englebert Calling."
Q: OK, I gotta get this outta the way. The woman who runs my office begged me to ask if you ever get tired of being a heartthrob? Is it a chore? Or is it just a chore answering QUESTIONS about it?
EH: Does cupid tire of slinging those arrows every Valentines? No, I never cease to be pleased to hear that my music may increase the heartbeat...but there's a great deal that goes into the process and it sometimes takes a team...cupid and I have a side deal going on!
Q: You've assembled a fantastic group of international artists spanning so many genres for this new recording. Who helped you make this happen -- and how long did it take to put together?
EH: My son and manager, Scott Dorsey, is the steam behind this dream, which took two years to complete but was completely worth the wait for me. He shared the concept with Conehead Records in London and they jumped in right away and it all came together. Juggling the schedules of these major talents was the trickiest part but what makes me proud and patient is that the names on this album are so busy in their careers that we have to keep the balls in the air. Some of us are not spring chickens but you'd never know it by the touring and showbiz commitments.
It's a privilege to be still doing what we love decade after decade.
Q: I've read that your son is also your manager. Has working together brought you closer together? Do you ever clash about recording styles or career plans?
EH: Ha! That all depends on how you look at it. Scott lives in Australia and I'm his Down Under but together we seem to be able to keep a handle on the world market. He's got great musical ears, ideas and heart and we've already established that heart is essential. It's great having family at the other end of the business phone but, as a dad, there are times when it's hard to step out of the parent roll and get told what to do...but I do!
Q: How do you go from Willie Nelson to Elton John to Gene Simmons? Is the work style totally different for each artist? Or do they have more in common than one might think?
EH: For the artists I was lucky enough to be in the same town at the same time to record, it was all about the hang! Elton, Gene and Smokey made memories that I will never forget. Everyone was a pro on this project and made the process so easy. I've literally had tears of joy, laughter and just plain awe while recording...whether it was in person or through technology.
Q: After 50 years as a mostly solo artist, was it hard to adapt to working with so many stylistically different artists?
EH: I love harmonies to the point of obsession but honestly, it takes a great deal of talent to showcase a song written specifically for a solo artist and make it sound authentic as a duet. Hats off to everyone who put their talents and ideas into vocal arrangements which were brilliantly produced by Martin Terefe. If I could have had that fly on the filming me on speaker phone in LA with Wynonna in Nashville...woodshedding "Release Me," it would have been a great "how to" video for the process.
Q: The new CD isn't even out in the states yes, but I've read rumors about a follow up duets album. Any truth to them? And if so, can you give us some details?
EH: We had so many artists, who I'd be thrilled to sing with, who wanted to jump on board, that a second CD seem to manifest itself. There is a great deal of work to be done to promote "Engelbert Calling" but I'm looking forward to picking up the phone again...sometime down the pipeline.
Q: With 150 million albums sold, is there one song that you really wish you'd never recorded? On the same note, is there one classic or standard you still DO hope to record one day?
EH: Of course I regret the misses before the hits but I'd never call out one song as they all had a piece in the puzzle that is the pathway to success...oh...I like that...I may have to quote myself!
"How I Love You" is a song I have recorded in Spanish and English but never as a duet and I'd dearly love to do it.
Q: Your job, because of the impact you've made as an artist, requires a certain amount of international touring. Don't you ever just want to quit? To rest on your laurels?
EH: I think NOT resting on my laurels has been one of the greatest secrets to my success. The music is in my blood and the touring is in my bones. Yes, they ache a little more than they used to but I've demanded a lot of them over the years. I'm an armchair man when I can be but the road always calls me.
Q: This is your second time performing at the St. George Theatre. What do you love most about being on tour and performing in places, such as Staten Island?
EH: Any theatre that bears George as the middle name has to suit me and be my cup of tea....I've been going to these cities for so long that each stop feels like I'm coming home. Hope to see you there.
Arnold George Dorsey
AKA Engelbert Humperdinck
ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK INTERVIEW: 'The Legendary Contemporary Entertainer with the Golden Voice'
By Ray Shasho-Interviewed February 5th 2015
British entertainer Arnold George Dorsey (stage name Gerry Dorsey) had limited success as a singer, but in 1967 Engelbert Humperdinck became an overnight sensation and a household name worldwide. Humperdinck recorded one of the best-selling singles of all-time; a number-one hit song entitled “Release Me,” which thwarted The Beatles efforts of reaching the top of the charts with their double A-sided record, “Strawberry Fields Forever /Penny Lane.” “Release Me” held the number-one slot on the UK Pop charts for six weeks and remained on the charts for a record fifty-six consecutive weeks, selling 80,000 copies a day. Humperdinck superseded the success of “Release Me” with “There Goes My Everything” and “The Last Waltz,”sweeping the Top 40 Pop charts that same year.
Engelbert’s charisma, good looks and magnificent vocals mirrored performers such as Elvis Presley and Tom Jones, and it quickly became evident that a new singing sensation had conquered and charmed the music world. Humperdinck’s sex appeal captivated a huge female fanbase which became known as the Humperdinckers, and throughout the 70’s, Humperdinck sustained the hits on the Top 40 airwaves …“Am I That Easy to Forget,” “A Man Without Love (Quando M’Innamoro),” “Les Bicyclettes de Belsize,” “The Way It Used To Be,” “I'm A Better Man (For Having Loved You),” “Winter World of Love,” “Sweetheart,” ”When There’s No You,” and “Another Time, Another Place.”
Engelbert Humperdinck’s albums released throughout the 60’s and 70’s …
Humperdinck relentlessly toured the world in front of adoring sold-out audiences and became a hot commodity and mainstay attraction on the Las Vegas and Atlantic City Strips. When he wasn’t on the road, he’d be in the recording studio generating the hits. His last major Pop hit on the Top 40 charts came in 1976 with the brilliant and graceful “After The Lovin’” composed by Ritchie Adams and written by Alan Bernstein. In 1979, Humperdinck spawned his fourth number-one hit on the Easy Listening charts in the U.S. with yet another Adams/ Bernstein composition entitled “This Moment In Time.” In 1983, Engelbert released his last charted single“Til You and Your Lover Are Lovers Again.”
In 1999, Humperdinck released The Dance Album which featured newly recorded dance versions of six of Engelbert's greatest hits, along with five original songs. The album landed in the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance charts.
Most Recently: Engelbert Humperdinck released his highly anticipated and critically-acclaimed double-CD entitled… “Engelbert Calling” which features incredible duets with some of the world’s most recognized names in music … including Elton John, Willie Nelson, Olivia Newton-John, Gene Simmons, and many-more. The album is released by OK! Good Records, and produced by Grammy Award-winner Martin Terefe, who is well-known for his work with Jason Mraz, James Morrison, KT Tunstall, and Mary J Blige. … I gave “Engelbert Calling” by Engelbert Humperdinck (5) Stars!
Engelbert Humperdinck’s career has spanned nearly five decades. He’s sold more than 150- million albums world-wide, including 24 certified with platinum status and 63 with gold, four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for “Entertainer of the Year” (1988), and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Engelbert has solidified his name as an international Pop legend and has established himself as one of the world’s most influential artists.
At 78, Humperdinck continues to tour the world and record in the studio, and like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better. Engelbert is happily married to Patricia, his wife of 50 years. The couple has 4 children and 9 grandchildren. He’s managed by his son Scott Dorsey/Dorsey Productions.
I had the wonderful pleasure of chatting with one of my favorite singers about his critically-acclaimed release … ‘Engelbert Calling’ …Engelbert’s follow-up release upcoming ... The current world tour …The early days… ‘The Humperdinckers’ … Befriending ‘Elvis’ …And Much-Much More!Here’s my interview with internationally renowned singer, songwriter, entertainer, a true gentleman and a really nice guy...
Ray Shasho: Engelbert, thank you so much for being on the call today, how’s the tour coming along?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “It’s going great; I’ve only done about ten concerts so far this year, but it’s going wonderful. I start again next week, the people are loving what I’m giving them and I’m very happy about that, I keep changing the show as I go along. But the actual show has been tried and tested in every country around the world, all my standards I’ve chosen that people want to hear, I keep them in the show. And of course now I’ve got a new album out ‘Engelbert Calling’ which I sing four songs from that particular album.”
Ray Shasho: I heard you are going to do a follow-up album to ‘Engelbert Calling’ entitled ‘Redialed,’ is that a working title or will it actually be used for the next album?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “No, that’s what we said, so that’s what it will be. It’s an obvious title really.”
Ray Shasho: I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Engelbert Calling,’ but I always pick favorites, and I have to say “I Need You Now” with Lulu and “After the Lovin'” with Beverley Knight were my absolute favorite tracks.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Thank you! I love singing with them all, Wynonna Judd was great with my big song (“Release Me”) and she did a great job with that. I didn’t get to go in the studio with her but I did speak on the phone with her and we actually rehearsed online from my house. So yea, it was amazing. And she was just delighted to do the number. She said I just might put this out as a single, and of course I said oh great!”
Ray Shasho: Engelbert was there a certain process for selecting these particular artists for the album?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “My son Scott is managing me and he has a good idea of what people expect out of me as an artist. There’s a contemporary song on the album written by Dan Wilson, Martin Terefe and James Morrison called “Real Love,” and Shelby Lynne did a great job on that one. I also know a lot of these people; Neil Sedaka’s “The Hungry Years” has always been a massive favorite of mine because I think it’s one of the best songs he’s ever written. Many years ago after my After The Lovin’ album, I recorded it and rereleased it with Neil singing with me on it, and just a marvelous piece for posterity.”
Ray Shasho: I noticed several of your duets were with some of the artists that shared billboard rankings with you in 1967 … for instance Lulu and Dionne Warwick.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “In 1967, Lulu was on a show called ‘Juke Box Jury’ and was part of a panel of four. And she was the only one that voted “Release Me” a hit. So I thought to myself, one of these days, I’ll have to have her sing with me on an album, and here was my opportunity. So she was the only one that was right that it would become a hit, and it did become a hit all around the world (All laughing).”
Ray Shasho: The most surprising duet on the album has to be the one you did with Gene Simmons of KISS, he must be a big fan of yours.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “I love him to death! It was really something special. He took the trouble of coming to the studio, instead of saying, send it to my home and I’ll complete it at my studio. He never did that. He said I’ll come and do it with you. He came in and was so humorous and pleasing, not only is he a great businessman but has a great personality and persona. He was good to me and promoted my album in many ways, on his website, and I’m really grateful to him. He’s a wonderful man. He came to see me in concert right after.”
Ray Shasho: You and Gene picked a great song to sing too, “Spinning Wheel” which was written by David Clayton-Thomas and became a huge hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Gene said to me, just relax, enjoy it and have fun with it, and that’s what we did. And I think that’s what comes out in the album. He’s a lot of fun; I can still see that smile on his face.”
Ray Shasho: Your first single … "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" in 1958 as Gerry Dorsey, was a great tune, why didn’t it do very well?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Actually my first single was called “Mr. Music Man.” I really think I wanted to be known as Mr. Music Man, but that wasn’t a hit either, and the great Johnnie Ray wrote that song for me. So “Mr. Music Man” and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" were not hits, I had to wait till I changed my name until I had a hit.”
Ray Shasho: Then in 1967 you dominated the airwaves! I remember everyone talking about a new charismatic singer with a terrific voice and funny name.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “I had number one, two, and three on the charts. “Release Me” was the only song that knocked The Beatles out of the #1 slot from on top of the UK record charts. It was the biggest single that I ever had and sold millions.”
Ray Shasho: Engelbert you’ve also written some of your own material through the years?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “I’ve written a lot of songs that I have recorded too. I wrote one that was a #4 hit for Tom Jones in the early years called “This and That,” and a matter of fact; I put that song back in my show and do it myself now.”
Ray Shasho: “When did you first meet Tom Jones?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “I met him before he became a star. He was a friend of a friend who lived in Wales. He brought Jones to London and introduced him to my friend Gordon Mills who wasn’t my manager then. He became manager to Tom Jones and to me. And that’s how the meeting began. Of course we were in a company together at one time back in the early days, there was Gilbert O’Sullivan, Tom Jones, Gordon Mills and myself, and we had this massive company that was very successful. Gordon Mills passed away many years ago and I had to change managers quite a bit, but the one who I think is particularly doing the best job is my son Scott who is doing it right now. I haven’t talked with Tom Jones for about 28 years.”
Ray Shasho: It was Gordon Mills that was responsible for changing your name from Arnold George Dorsey to Engelbert Humperdinck?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “He gave me, Tom Jones, and Gilbert O’Sullivan our names. So he was responsible for the three of us changing our names.”
Ray Shasho: What was your initial reaction when Gordon Mills asked you to change your name to Engelbert Humperdinck?Engelbert Humperdinck: “I thought it was a group, it was so great, I thought, where did they find this name? But it’s very recognizable and people love it.”
Ray Shasho: I understand that you couldn’t use the name Engelbert Humperdinck while performing in Germany, is that still true today?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “The name belonged to the German composer who wrote the opera ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and passed away in 1921, and his family objected to me having the name Humperdinck in Germany, so therefore I went under the name Engelbert. Now it’s all over and I can use the name Engelbert Humperdinck in Germany because the family has passed on.”
Ray Shasho: Frank Sinatra’s big hit “Strangers In The Night” was initially offered to you by composer Bert Kaempfert.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Strangers In The Night,” “Spanish Eyes,” and “Wonderland by Night.” I went to Bert Kaempfert’s house in Spain and he played it to me on the piano personally and sang the songs. I told him that I loved those songs. So I brought them back to London and recorded all three, and then Gordon said you can’t have “Strangers In The Night.” I said why not, it’s a number-one song … I promise you. He said you can’t have it, Sinatra wants it. I think there was a large money figure involved so that’s why he gave it to him. That’s show business … managers, agents … where the dollars are, they go.”
Ray Shasho: There’s no doubt in my mind that you would have nailed that song!
Engelbert Humperdinck: “You should have heard my version, it was amazing! I’ve been looking for that version on Decca Records because I recorded it, and then suddenly it’s buried somewhere and I cannot find it again. But it was an incredible version, and I know it would have been number-one.”
Ray Shasho: Were you inspired to become a singer by listening to anyone in particular?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “When I first started in the industry, I wasn’t going to be a singer Ray; I wanted to become a musician, so I really didn’t listen to too many people or tried to get inspired by them because I wanted to become a Sax player. Eventually when I did start singing, I think Nat King Cole was one of my favorites. When I was eighteen years old I went into the service and was shipped to the same place with someone who I befriended later in life, and that was Elvis Presley. Elvis was shipped to Germany and I was in Germany at the same time. I used to play his songs on the jukebox in the canteen and little did I know that I would become friends with him. I did love the way he performed and saw him work onstage, I admired and learned so much from this master. He had humility and charm and he never took himself seriously onstage, his image, and I learned all this from him. Because there are a lot of people who seem to think they’re the cats whiskers when they walk onstage, and he and his giant image didn’t show that at all. He was just a great guy and I learned from him a lot. But I told him the story about being in the army at the same time … he was a big star and I was a nobody! (All laughing) Elvis was a marvelous man.”
Ray Shasho: I heard somewhere … Elvis felt that if his twin brother(Jesse Garon) had survived, he would have looked much like you, and that’s one of the reasons he liked you so much.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “There was a guy that did a story on him and went over and asked people who were closest with Elvis and whom he admired in the industry, and he said he liked me because I reminded him of the twin brother he lost at birth. He considered me the twin brother he lost at birth. I thought what a great complement.”
Ray Shasho: You guys did look alike with those muttonchops.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Yea, well I started it you know. (All laughing) I brought it to America and people like Johnny Carson and Bob Hope used to make comments like … Engelbert always looks like he’s on the phone … because my muttonchops were so thick. (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: Engelbert, you must have some great stories about frenzied female fans.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “There are many of those, fans used to get jobs in hotels so they could bring room service to my room, (Laughing) that’s the type of thing that used to happen to me in the early days. I even used to find people in my room when I got there. It was amazing; they were hiding in cupboards and things like that. They would bribe the staff and got in somehow. People have also camped outside my house in their cars and would sit out there for days and days.”
Ray Shasho: “Was your wife Patricia jealous about your diehard women fans called the Humperdinckers?”
Engelbert Humperdinck: “There was a little bit of jealousy, which I think was sort of natural when you see your husband surrounded by lovely ladies, kissing you all over the place, putting lipstick on you, writing love messages, throwing keys and bouquets of flowers onstage with all kinds of risqué messages … I should imagine that it would lend itself to a little bit of jealousy, but she overcame all that. And here I am still going strong and still getting the messages and bouquets of flowers when I go onstage.”
Ray Shasho: Engelbert, you have been married to Patricia Dorsey for over 50 years, that alone is a tremendous feat.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “It is a tremendous feat. People always ask me what’s my favorite song, and besides “Release Me,” I have to say that Nat King Coles’ “When I Fall in Love” is my favorite song. That was the first single that I did for my girlfriend, the girl I was dating, who happens to me my wife right now.”
Ray Shasho: “So what is the secret to a long and happy marriage?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Patricia has been the backbone of my career because she’s stood by me under certain circumstances, mistakes are made and I made a few, she forgave me for those and we still love each other very much and I hope it goes on forever.”
Ray Shasho: “When I was working in broadcasting as a deejay in 1979, I loved playing “This Moment in Time” (#1 hit in 1979) over the airwaves.
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Here’s the story about “This Moment in Time.” It was written by two gentlemen, Richard Adams and Alan Bernstein, and they also wrote “After the Lovin.’” Alan Bernstein was in the hospital and he had cancer. He wrote the lyrics to “This Moment in Time” while he was in the hospital and you can hear what he is trying to say … “I know the sun is gonna shine … because of you and me … there’ll be this moment in time.” It’s an amazing and heartrending lyric to someone who knows the story. I visited him in the hospital; a very talented writer had left this world.”
Ray Shasho: The ‘Peace Collective’ is an all-star group of music artists that banned together to record a single and music video to mark the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Day truce in the trenches (1914) … To quote Simon Britton, “A spontaneous act of humanity that transcended the horrors and barbarity of World War One. It is a story of hope and peace which should be told over and over again.” The single was released on December 15th 2014, and all profits from the song go to the British Red Cross and the Shorncliffe Trust. Engelbert talk about being a member of the ‘Peace Collective.’
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Isn’t that something? I was asked by Simon Britton who is the producer … he was actually coming to LA to see my show and he asked me to do it. There were so many great artists participating. 100 years ago on December 24th, during the First World War, there was peace for one day. The Germans were singing “Silent Night” in their trenches and the Brits were singing “Silent Night” in their trenches, and all of a sudden they both put their hands up and they all came out and shook hands. They greeted each other, exchanged presents, sang together, and played football (soccer) together. Afterwards, they both went back into their trenches and went back to war again. It sort of tells you something… that we really don’t want to kill each other, it’s all political." "But that’s what inspired the song written by Peter Hooton (The Farm) which was a hit (“All Together Now”) in 1990. “The re-released single features an all-star cast including …Suggs, Mick Jones, David Gray, Julian Lennon, The Proclaimers, members of The Farm, Gabrielle, Jah Wobble, Leo Sayer, John Power, Suzi Quatro, Holly Johnson, and my amazing daughter Louise was on it.”
Ray Shasho: Here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview. If you had a ‘Field of Dreams’ wish like the movie, to sing or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
Engelbert Humperdinck: “It would have to be the people that I’ve admired …Nat King Cole, Elvis … if Elvis was alive today, he would’ve been on my album. The sideburns would have been together… we would have been bookends. (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: You’re selling a line of jewelry? (Released on Valentine’s Day) Available at www.ehcalling.comEngelbert Humperdinck: “It’s a musical note called the harmony pendant and sold through the Zalemark Holding Company. Soon other pieces will be publicized and promoted on television. I’m a hands-on person and designed all the jewelry myself. I’m hoping people will enjoy my jewelry. Since this album, people have been getting in touch with me to promote clothing lines, beer, wine, and all kinds of things, so I’ll be endorsing a lot of products in the near future.”
Ray Shasho: Engelbert, thank you so much for being on the call today and for all the incredible music you’ve given us and continue to bring!
Engelbert Humperdinck: “Ray, happy anniversary to you and Sharon, God bless you, stay well, and keep that marriage together!”
Engelbert Humperdinck – Still Making Female Hearts Flutter
April 13, 2015
BY ELLIOT STEPHEN COHEN
"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, but 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 be 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 and his show arrives at Morristown, New Jersey’s Mayo Performing Arts Center, Friday evening, April 17th. 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.
EXAMINER: This may seem like a ridiculous question to begin with, but do you prefer interviewers to address you as Mr. Dorsey or Mr. Humperdinck?
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.
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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, Later 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.
EXAMINER: Of course, most of the early British rockers had names like Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde.
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: It's obviously worked well for you.
HUMPERDINCK: 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," which, 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.
EXAMINER: You have a new album "Engelbert Calling" which, as of right now, can only 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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, and 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.
EXAMINER: It must have been great to finally get a chance to record with him.
HUMPERDINCK: 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 it 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.
EXAMINER: What do you remember most about the time when you were also a struggling new artist?
HUMPERDINCK: 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, and 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.
EXAMINER: Were there any other singers who recorded live with you for the album?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: On the album you also have Cliff Richard, who must have been a major hero of yours, growing up in England.
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: 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 him?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: Did you meet him other times, or just that once?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: 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....
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: What do you credit for your 51-year marriage, which is almost unheard of in show business terms?
HUMPERDINK: 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.
EXAMNER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: No, he was opening for me. I'll tell you why that happened; they were just introducing him 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.
EXAMINER: Didn't he also play guitar for you from backstage, on one show when your guitarist didn't show up?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: Oh, gosh, there've been so many instances. Mostly you'd find them in your hotel rooms, because 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.
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: Could you have possibly imagined 50 years ago that, at 78 you'd still be a major headliner?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.)
EXAMINER: 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?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: Tom Jones, Cliff Richard and other British contemporaries of your have already been knighted by the Queen. When are we going to see Sir Engelbert Humperdinck added to that list?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: Maybe your many fans can start a Facebook campaign that the Queen might hear about.
HUMPERDINCK: Maybe. (Laughs.)
EXAMINER: You've had a great singing career, but do you still have any unfulfilled aspirations, like acting in films?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
EXAMINER: But you're obviously now in a position to try acting, or do whatever you want?
HUMPERDINCK: 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.
‘Engelbert Calling’: Humperdinck makes songs with famous friends and musical memories with fans
By Emily Cary - Special to The Washington Times - - Sunday, April 12, 2015
Ever since Engelbert Humperdinck’s first album in 1967, the pop idol has mesmerized audiences with his dynamic voice and irresistible style, packing concert halls and selling millions of records. Now he invites Washington-area fans to share an evening of musical memories and danceable rhythms from “Engelbert Calling,” his latest album.
“For nearly 50 years, I’ve always looked forward to performing for my fans,” Mr. Humperdinck told The Washington Times from Los Angeles. “I’ve been very fortunate in my career, and I love looking back through those amazing years that first took me around the world, playing to sellout concerts.”
The title “Engelbert Calling,” he said, comes from a comment Elton John made years ago when, as a struggling songwriter, he kept hoping the telephone would ring with Engelbert on the other end looking for a new song. Now, Mr. Humperdinck joins Mr. John, Smokey Robinson, Johnny Mathis, Willie Nelson, Olivia Newton-John, Charles Aznavour, Wynonna Judd, Kenny Rogers, Neil Sedaka and other friends to revisit old favorites in fresh ways.
“I wanted to sing a duet with each of them, but it would have been impossible to work personally with the various artists, wherever they might be,” Mr. Humperdinck said, but “thanks to this electronic world, I simply sent them the initial track. They each put their voice on it and sent it back to me to be completed. The only two able to come to the LA studio to sing with me were Elton John and Gene Simmons, who brought humor and life into the studio by ad-libbing with Elton and me.”
Mr. Humperdinck has earned Grammys, 1988’s Golden Globe Entertainer of the Year, 63 gold records, 24 platinum records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He always keeps his fans in mind, touring extensively to perform for them. The “Engelbert Calling” tour stops at 30 major cities in the U.S., Canada and his native United Kingdom.
Mr. Humperdinck grew up in Leicester, England, and remembers walking across the parking lot where the remains of King Richard III were recently unearthed. He maintains a home there and was invited to attend the reburial ceremony in Leicester Cathedral this month, but his tour schedule was impossible to shift.
Mr. Humperdinck’s life has changed dramatically since he started his career by entering a vocal contest under his real name, Arnold George Dorsey, and won for his impersonation of Jerry Lewis. That put him on the U.K. music circuit until a bout with tuberculosis sidelined his plans. When he was able to resume his career, his manager decided a new name would throw him back into the spotlight. The name he suggested belonged to a German composer who lived 200 years earlier and proved to be memorable.
“I’ve always loved melodious, romantic music, and although I understand that change is inevitable, I’m thrilled to see a brand-new generation of fans emerging who embrace the music I sing,” Mr. Humperdinck said. “To honor all my fans, I created the Harmony Pendant in the shape of a treble clef with a heart in the middle. When I look out into the audience, I’m always amazed by the number who are wearing my pendant.”
After concerts in Birmingham, Manchester and London’s Royal Albert Hall, he will go on to Tel Aviv before closing in Belgium.
As he travels, Mr. Humperdinck is compiling a documentary. It, too, will be a gift to his fans.
“Being in the studio is my creative side,” he said. “That’s where I’ve put out more than 80 albums and compilations, but there’s nothing better than walking on stage and seeing live people.” With a chuckle, he added, “For many years, women tossed me their underwear in appreciation of my songs, and it does still happen, but today my older fans are more sedate.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT:Engelbert Humperdinck on the “Engelbert Calling Tour”
WHERE: Music Center at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852
WHEN: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
Engelbert Humperdinck To Tour Australia October November
by PAUL CASHMERE on APRIL 9, 2015, Noise11.com
Engelbert Humperdinck will perform shows across Australia in October and November.
An Evening With Engelbert Humperdinck will start in Perth and then head to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
Engelbert Humperdinck had his first hit with ‘Release Me’ in 1967. Over the years he has appeared on Eurovision, shared a single with Red Hot Chili Peppers and even had Jimi Hendrix play guitar for him at one stage early in his career.
His most recent album was the duets record ‘Engelbert Calling’ in 2014 featuring duets with Elton John, Gene Simmons, Willie Nelson, Neil Sedaka, Smokey Robinson and Olivia Newton-John.
Engelbert Humperdinck dates
October 25, Perth, Crown Theatre
October 27, Adelaide, Entertainment Centre
October 29, Melbourne, Palais Theatre
October 31, Sydney, State Theatre
November 2, Gold Coast, Jupiters Casino
Engelbert in Australia
October 25th - November 2nd
Engelbert Humperdinck: the secret of longevity
April 7, 2015 La Presse Canadienne by ALAIN DE REPENTIGNY
This article originally appeared in French: http://www.lapresse.ca/arts/musique/201504/06/01-4858582-engelbert-humperdinck-le-secret-de-la-longevite.php
Engelbert Humperdinck will be 79 years next month. Not only does it still gives almost a hundred concerts a year, including three in Quebec these days, but already preparing three more albums. Conversation with an artist that lasts.
The newest album Engelbert Humperdinck includes two CDs twenty songs he interprets duet with guests, some contemporaries as Cliff Richard, Neil Sedaka, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson and the venerable Charles Aznavour.
"And the great Gene Simmons of Kiss! Group," immediately adds the phone one who prefers to describe it as a romantic singer and not as a crooner because a crooner, he says, has not a record three and a half octaves.
Duets albums are very popular for years, but it is by chance qu'Engelbert Humperdinck decided to make one. He watched a concert by Elton John reminding that when he was a songwriter penniless, he dreamed that Engelbert Humperdinck sings one of his compositions.
"I had not known at the time, but I did recently to ask him if he would do me the favor to sing on my album of duets, tells Humperdinck. He agreed and, from the time when Elton was on board, everyone boarded. That's why I titled my album Engelbert Calling. "
There are no virtual duet with a singer Engelbert Calling gone on, but there may well be some on his next album, which will be called Engelbert Redialed: "When I started in the business, Nat King Cole was my favorite singer and, of course, I became a good friend of Elvis. I would love to sing with him because I've never had the chance. "
Missed appointment with Gorillaz
There are a few years, Damon Albarn and Gorillaz have informed the agent Humperdinck they would like the gentleman singing on their album. When the main person knew that his agent had refused this proposal, it immediately turned the officer in question and entrusted his career to his son Scott.
"My agent had no idea who it was, Humperdinck said, laughing. I was absolutely furious he refused. My son Scott is more in tune with what is happening today. It was he who established contact with all these legendary artists on my album. He did a very good job and it'll do even better for the next record. I am convinced that it will communicate with them [Gorillaz]. "
To stay current, Humperdinck is not content to listen to records, it also looks at shows like The Voice ". When I hear a song I like, I steals and adds it to my show"
In one he will give the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier Saturday, it may well be that he takes to the country so I'm On Fire Bruce Springsteen: "I bathe in the long country universe. Release Me was a country song like Am I That Easy To Forget and There Goes My Everything, "recalls one born Arnold George Dorsey in Madras and returned to England with his parents shortly before the independence of India .
His current directory also has at least a newer song, Thinking Out Loud, his young compatriot Ed Sheeran, he boasts the talent and admire success. "But I sing my way, inimitable," he adds.
With Cat and Jimi
On his album of duets, he also takes with his other son Bradley a song all indicated: Father and Son by Cat Stevens. "I worked with Cat when he was not well known and already singing Father and Son says Humperdinck. We shared the bill with the Walker Brothers and Jimi Hendrix. It was incredible! "
Scott Walker reincarnated from an artist a little left field, ultimate proof that anything can happen as long as we last. Humperdinck nods. "I was under the spotlight for quite some time and I always do something unusual for it to remain interesting."
Unusual as its interpretation quite serious song Lesbian Seagull for the soundtrack of Beavis & Butt - Head Do America, irreverent animated film of 1996. "I have the sense of humor and the audience that comes see appreciates says Humperdinck. I never took my picture seriously. I realized it when I saw my friend Elvis on stage. He was very humble. "
If he willingly mocks his image, Engelbert Humperdinck never neglected so far, who dyes his hair since the age of 20 years.
"I grisonnais already and I do not want people to think I'm older than I was. I'm not ashamed to say that I dye my hair. I do not want us to see in me a person, not just yet, anyway, "he laughs.
His famous favorites are not a blip. When he borrowed his stage name to the German opera composer Engelbert Humperdinck in the mid-60s, he makes hair grow and favorites to distinguish themselves from other singers: "Thereafter, Elvis and the Beatles all had favorites and everyone, including Glen Campbell and Kenny Rogers, followed. I launched the fashion. "
At the Maurice-en O'Bready Sherbrooke April 10, at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Montreal on April 11 and the Capitole de Québec April 12
Charity Auction - for Mason Fountain
Please support this wonderful cause.
The online auction closes on April 11.
"I have donated a Meet and Greet package to one of my upcoming concerts in UK in May and look forward to meeting the highest bidder after the concert!"
Click here for all details (and please dig deep):
"Engelbert's vocal Pipes Are As Strong As Ever" By: Robin Leach
The highlight of my Strip-trotting expedition was off-Strip — downtown at the Smith Center for my longtime pal Engelbert Humperdinck’s show. Filled with the songs and sounds of love, romance and relationships, the heartthrob excelled with one of his best-ever performances.
He standing ovations every time, but it was at the finale as he closed with his giant hit “Release Me” that a phenomenon began. Well-dressed women young and old rushed the stage. In the three years of being a season ticketholder at the Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall, I’d never seen anything like it.
It was the days of Elvis and The Beatles all over again. Some even tossed aside their canes and walkers to reach the stage and shake his hand. It was an incredible sight, and if I hadn’t seen it for myself, I would have said “unbelievable.” But the 78-year-old singer charmed the crowd as if he was a TV evangelist.
His vocal pipes are as strong as ever, his sly remarks poking fun at himself are humorous, his backup band were bang on target with fabulous arrangements and instrumentals, and his two female singers were adorable. His songs “Spanish Eyes,” “After the Lovin’ ” and “The Last Waltz” still have all the power of yesteryear and proved why they are timeless and still as beautiful as ever.
All I could think of was how Eng, Marilyn and Billy sang pitch perfect with lyrics I could understand and weren’t four-letter-word offensive or derogatory. The joy of hearing performances with music that didn’t wreck my eardrums was delicious.
It was the perfect way to end a Valentine’s Day Weekend and the topping on the cake of my packed catch-up tour of Las Vegas shows.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Engelbert Humperdinck to perform April 17 at Mayo Center
Engelbert Humperdinck will perform favorites and music from his new release, "Engelbert Calling," at 8 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South Street, Morristown.
"Engelbert Calling" features duets with some of the world's most recognized names in music, including Sir Elton John, Willie Nelson, Olivia Newton-John, Gene Simmons, and more.
"He is one of the sweetest and nicest people I have ever worked with," Sir Elton John said about his experience collaborating with Engelbert. "We had a great time singing together and he is so quick, what I call a 'one-take singer,' 76 years old and still sounding as good as ever."
More than 45 years after his massive hit "Release Me" reached number one on the pop charts and created a worldwide frenzy, spending six full weeks at the top spot and an incredible 56 weeks in the Top 50 in a single chart run, Humperdinck's newest album comes as a celebration of his remarkable career, which has spanned nearly five decades.
After selling more than 150 million albums worldwide, including 24 certified with platinum status and 63 with gold, Engelbert has solidified his name as an international pop legend and has established himself as one of the world's most influential artists.
Tickets to the event cost $49 to $89 and can be purchased at www.mayoarts.org or by calling (973) 539-8008.