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Engelbert Humperdinck: Aloha from L.A.

January 03, 2020

An exclusive chat with your nonna’s favorite singer

 January 1, 2020 Katherine Yeske Taylor, Rock and Roll Globe

“Aloha! I’m saying ‘aloha’ because I just came back from Hawaii,” says Engelbert Humperdinck, calling from his home in Los Angeles. 

The legendary singer is cheerful and charming despite suffering from severe jet lag after returning from an extensive string of overseas shows. “It’s been a hectic tour – I’ve done six countries in just over 14 days,” he says, listing off several Asian nations as well as the Hawaii stop. And he’s not done yet: in two days, he’ll set off for several more concerts, this time spanning the continental United States.

This would be an exhausting work schedule for anyone, let alone someone of Humperdinck’s age (he’s 83 years old). But he’s intent on promoting his latest EP, Reflections, a 5-song collection of the type of grandly melodic songs that have made him an iconic singer since his career first took off more than 50 years ago. He is nicknamed “The King of Romance,” and with good reason: his songs often tell unabashedly emotional love stories.

“It’s got some things on it that I particularly love very much,” Humperdinck says of Reflections. In particular, he’s proud of the song “I’m Glad I Danced with You (Candlelight Mix),” on which he duets with his granddaughter, Olivia. He says her performance is “totally amazing, and I mean that most sincerely. She sang it with passion and with meaning.”

 

He says he’s also extremely fond of the song “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” written by Toby Keith, which is about resisting the aging process – bolstered by the memorable line, “Ask yourself how old you’d be / If you didn’t know the day you were born.” 

“I fell in love with that song because all the lyrics have my sentiments entirely,” Humperdinck says. “I don’t want to get old. You know, I’m about 53 [years old] now, I have to think about these things!” he jokes. “I act and talk and dress as young as I possibly can. Not too young, but young enough to say, ‘This guy doesn’t look his age.’”

To check out how youthful Humperdinck looks these days, fans should seek out the music video for the EP’s first single, “You” (as of this writing, it has already logged almost a quarter of a million views on YouTube, even though it was just released in mid-September). This is, in fact, his first-ever official music video. “[It] was a breath of fresh air, and it was nice for me to do it,” Humperdinck says. “Hopefully it will take my career on to another step.”

Indeed, at a time when most performers would think about retiring, Humperdinck is still showing the same type of work ethic and persistence that helped him launch his career in the first place. “I want to tell you something: I’ve auditioned many, many times, and I’ve been rejected. The first condition of communication is the willingness to take rejection, and I took it so many times, but you know what? If you don’t knock on doors, they’re not going to open. So I knocked on doors. I knew that one day, one door will open, and it did.”

Even so, Humperdinck says he had “no idea” that his career would become this successful. Growing up in England, he says he “was not going to be a singer – I was going to be a saxophone player, and I thought I would be a big band leader.” But he switched courses when, at 17 years old, “I got up and sang in a club and I got a standing ovation for it, and I thought to myself, ‘This is what I want to do.’ So I started singing from then onwards.”

At the time, he was performing using his birth name, Gerry Dorsey. But even with his impressive singing ability, he still didn’t find real success until his late 20s when, in a now-famous move, he took the stage name “Engelbert Humperdinck.” This had the desired effect of grabbing people’s attention long enough for them to check out his shows and discover that he was a true talent.

Since his debut recording, Release Me (1967), he has gone on to release more than 60 studio albums (plus many live albums and compilation albums), which have collectively sold a staggering 140 million copies worldwide. His singles, such as “Release Me” and “The Last Waltz,” are among the most recognizable songs ever recorded. His song “Ten Guitars,” originally released as the B-side to “Release Me,” has been adopted as the unofficial national anthem of New Zealand, of all things (a development that Humperdinck calls “amazing”); there is a re-recorded version of that track on the Reflections EP. But even with such an impressive history of hits, Humperdinck is still ambitious: “I’m still not giving up – I’m still trying to get another song that’s going to hit the top of the charts.”

He thinks his success has a lot to do with the type of songs that he has chosen to sing. “I personally enjoy songs that have a great deal of meaning. A song that has a storyline attached to it, that people have lived by, and that I’ve lived by – so when people hear it, they say, ‘That sounds like part of me.’ And I like to get involved with very good melodies that last forever, not ones that you can’t hum a few bars after you’ve heard it the first time.” 

As he prepares for this next tour, Humperdinck says he’s still mindful, even now, that he must continue to earn fans’ respect. “Each and every audience has their own reaction, and believe me, it’s nerve-wracking not knowing what you’re going to receive. But when you finally achieve your goal, it’s quite rewarding.” He cites his recent concert in Japan as a perfect example of this: “I haven’t been [there] in many, many years, and I had to win them back. They were a very reserved audience, and therefore, it took a bit of work. But in the end, I got them, and they were standing up right in front, like at a rock show!” he says, delighted.

All those fans he’s won over will undoubtedly be happy to know that he’s already planning to record another album next year. “I don’t know what it’s going to be about, but nevertheless, I hope it has a memorable existence because that’s the way I like my records, so that they stay around forever.”

 

https://rockandrollglobe.com/pop/engelbert-humperdinck-aloha-from-l-a/

 


 

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Discography

ReflectionsReflections
Warmest Christmas WishesWarmest Christmas Wishes
The Complete Decca Studio AlbumsThe Complete Decca Studio Albums
Engelbert Humperdinck - 50Engelbert Humperdinck - 50
Christmas CDChristmas CD
Runaway CountryRunaway Country
Engelbert CallingEngelbert Calling
ReleasedReleased
We Made It Happen/SweetheartWe Made It Happen/Sweetheart
My Love/King of HeartsMy Love/King of Hearts
Legacy of Love Disc 2Legacy of Love Disc 2
Legacy of Love Disc 1Legacy of Love Disc 1
The Winding Road The Winding Road
An Introduction to Engelbert HumperdinckAn Introduction to Engelbert Humperdinck
Totally Amazing Totally Amazing
Best of Engelbert Humperdinck: The Millenium CollectionBest of Engelbert Humperdinck: The Millenium Collection
GoldGold
Let There Be Love Let There Be Love
Love Songs and BalladsLove Songs and Ballads
His Greatest Love Songs His Greatest Love Songs
Release MeRelease Me
Always Hear the Harmony: The Gospel Sessions Always Hear the Harmony: The Gospel Sessions
Engelbert Humperdinck Live Engelbert Humperdinck Live
Definition of Love Definition of Love
You Belong to My Heart You Belong to My Heart
Love is the Reason [DM]Love is the Reason [DM]
Red Sails in the Sunset Red Sails in the Sunset
I Want to Wake Up With You I Want to Wake Up With You
It’s All in the Game It’s All in the Game
Original Gold Vol. 2Original Gold Vol. 2
Original Gold Vol. 1Original Gold Vol. 1
Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck & the Royal Philharmonic OrchestraEvening with Engelbert Humperdinck & the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
An Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck An Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck
#1 Love Songs of All Time#1 Love Songs of All Time
At His Very BestAt His Very Best
The Engelbert Humperdinck Collection The Engelbert Humperdinck Collection
Live at the Royal Albert HallLive at the Royal Albert Hall
In the Still of the Night: 20 Beautiful Love SongsIn the Still of the Night: 20 Beautiful Love Songs
Dance Album [Bonus Track]Dance Album [Bonus Track]
The Best of Engelbert Humperdinck Live The Best of Engelbert Humperdinck Live
Merry Christmas with Engelbert HumperdinckMerry Christmas with Engelbert Humperdinck
Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck 2 [Live] Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck 2 [Live]
Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck 1 [Live]Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck 1 [Live]
The Dance AlbumThe Dance Album
16 Most Requested Songs16 Most Requested Songs
From the HeartFrom the Heart
FeelingsFeelings
Live in JapanLive in Japan
After DarkAfter Dark
You are So BeautifulYou are So Beautiful
Sings BalladsSings Ballads
The Magic of ChristmasThe Magic of Christmas
Magic NightMagic Night
Engelbert Humperdinck Sings the ClassicsEngelbert Humperdinck Sings the Classics
Love UnchainedLove Unchained
Christmas EveChristmas Eve
Engelbert I Love YouEngelbert I Love You
Step into My LifeStep into My Life
An Evening with Engelbert HumperdinckAn Evening with Engelbert Humperdinck
Yours: Quiereme MuchoYours: Quiereme Mucho
YoursYours
Hello Out ThereHello Out There
Engelbert Heart of GoldEngelbert Heart of Gold
Step into My LifeStep into My Life
Love is the ReasonLove is the Reason
Live in Concert/All of MeLive in Concert/All of Me
Remember I Love YouRemember I Love You
Getting SentimentalGetting Sentimental
You and Your LoverYou and Your Lover
Misty BlueMisty Blue
Don't You Love Me Anymore?Don't You Love Me Anymore?
A Merry Christmas with Engelbert HumperdinckA Merry Christmas with Engelbert Humperdinck
Love’s Only LoveLove’s Only Love
Engelbert Sings the HitsEngelbert Sings the Hits
This Moment in TimeThis Moment in Time
Love LettersLove Letters
The Last of the RomanticsThe Last of the Romantics
A Time For UsA Time For Us
Engelbert Sings For YouEngelbert Sings For You
Christmas TymeChristmas Tyme
MiraclesMiracles
After the Lovin’After the Lovin’
The World of Engelbert HumperdinckThe World of Engelbert Humperdinck
Engelbert Humperdinck His Greatest HitsEngelbert Humperdinck His Greatest Hits
My LoveMy Love
Engelbert King of HeartsEngelbert King of Hearts
In TimeIn Time
Live at the Riviera Las VegasLive at the Riviera Las Vegas
Another Time, Another PlaceAnother Time, Another Place
SweetheartSweetheart
We Made It HappenWe Made It Happen
Engelbert HumperdinckEngelbert Humperdinck
EngelbertEngelbert
A Man Without LoveA Man Without Love
Last WaltzLast Waltz
Release MeRelease Me