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Engelbert Humperdinck bringing romantic tunes to Akron

July 19, 2018

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By Jim Sullivan / Contributing Writer

Posted Jul 19, 2018 at 6:00 AM, Cape Cod Times

Engelbert Humperdinck will sing old hits and new songs Thursday at Cape Cod Melody Tent.

Engelbert Humperdinck – the 82-year-old English balladeer and ageless sex symbol - made a promise when I spoke with him around 2011. We’d been talking about how Frank Sinatra went out as a performer – not well, reading lyrics from a video prompter and not exactly full of voice.

Said Humperdinck: “I will know when to hang my hat up.”

“And that was seven years ago, right?” Humperdinck queried, last week on the phone from his Los Angeles office. “Well, I’m still going strong. I just love the business. I love being on stage. I haven’t slowed up in any way. On stage, I still dance around and do the things you’re supposed to do. And I’ve got a great following. They don’t quit on me so I’m not going to quit on them. I have a great affinity with my audience.”

Humperdinck – who was born Arnold George Dorsey in India and is “Enge” to his friends and family – relocated with his family to Leicester, England at age 10. He played out initially under his own name, and, as Humperdinck, has been recording since 1967, notching 63 gold and 24 platinum records.

Humperdinck released “The Man I Want to Be” album last November and just completed an as-yet-untitled Christmas album for release in September. (He’s taping a PBS show in Honolulu next month to air around the holiday.)

Humperdinck and his longtime band – six musicians, two female singers - will perform Thursday at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis. His set will no doubt include “Release Me,” “Crazy,” “The Last Waltz” and “Quando, quando, quando” and up to half a dozen new tunes.

“I love being in the contemporary world,” Humperdinck says. “That’s where I want to be, in my world, which is the romantic contemporary world.”

In the interview, he talked more about his long career:

Cape Cod Times: You used to do 140 shows a year and in 2011, you told me you’d scaled back to 90. How about now?

Humperdinck: That’s about it now. The show usually lasts about an-hour-40-minutes. (I tour) all over the world, which makes it interesting for me. I get to go to countries that I’ve been to before and not go in and out like I normally do, but go ahead and really test the waters, take a look

around, take some pictures and understand where they’re coming from.

CCT: Sometimes, musicians on tour can’t tell you anything about where they’ve been except which airport they flew into and the hotel rooms they stayed in.

Humperdinck: That’s something I can’t tell you about, hotels. I don’t remember much about hotels, but I do remember the countries.

CCT: Many musicians, entering a latter phase of performing, will say, “This is what I do, I don’t do anything else and I have the most fun doing this.”

Humperdinck: I’m still working hard, improving my shows that I give the people. I don’t just go there with a show that’s been done before. I give them something fresh every time. I’ve got a new album out, “The Man I Want to Be,” and I’ve got a lot of material from that I use in the show and it gives it a nice fresh appeal.

CCT: What is your secret in maintaining your voice?

Humperdinck: I wish I could tell you the answer to that because I don’t know myself. I’ve just been very lucky with my vocal cords and as I’ve aged, the vibrato slows down. I don’t use much vibrato in my voice now. It’s become a very commercial sound which (to me) is much more than I had 30, 40 or 50 years ago.

CCT: What about longevity? You’re one of the few singers, Tony Bennett being another, who has transcended fads, trends and eras. Any way you can account for that?

Humperdinck: I think mainly because of the style of music that I sing. It’s not something that comes and goes very quickly. I sing about romance, I’ve got good lyrics, good melodies that have a lasting appeal and that’s what we put on our albums. Normally, in today’s world, albums come and they go like – bang! nothing – and nobody remembers it after two or three weeks.

CCT: Tell me about the latest album. What Engelbert are you giving people in 2018?

Humperdinck: Well, there’s a lot of new songs on the album. Number one, is the fact that I dedicated this CD to my wife (Patricia Healy). It’s a love letter to my wife and there’s a couple of songs on it that are for her because she has Alzheimer’s. There’s only one duet on the album, and it was written by my daughter Louise (Dorsey) and her partner Tony Toliver. It’s recorded with her daughter, who was 9 years old at the time. She does an amazing portrayal of this particular song. It’s called “I’m Glad I Danced With You.” You see, I met (Patricia) when she was 17 at a dance hall and we’ve been together ever since. And the other song, “Just Like the First Time,” was written by a guy who must have done his homework because it really depicts my wife and I, our story together.

CCT: Is it hard to sing these songs in concert?

Humperdinck: No, because we are working hard to make her better. She’s had it for a long time (eight years), and it takes a little while before it can go away and I know it can go away. I have extreme confidence in that. It’s not a maybe; I’m positive it’s going to go away.

I also do a song from Bruno Mars called “Just the Way You Are.” There’s a nice story attached to that. I first met Bruno many years ago in Hawaii. I had a fan club party and he performed for me. He was 5 years old at the time. He was doing Elvis.

CCT: I know you and Elvis were friends. What’s the best “friendship” story and best “outrageous Elvis” story?

Humperdinck: I don’t know too much about outrageous. I want to say knowing him was the best thing that ever happened to me because I learned a lot from him by watching his show. We had good conversations. I asked him, “I hope you don’t mind if I sing some of your songs” and he said, “Don’t worry about that, pal, I’ve all your records and I do some of yours, too.”

Besides being an amazing entertainer, he was a great human being, had a lot of civility and he was very humble.

CCT: Being on somewhat the same level professionally, maybe you didn’t have to jump over this big gap and think, “Oh my God, I’m talking to Elvis!” He did what you do.

Humperdinck: (laughs) Well, he was a little bigger than I was. But I talked to him in a very ordinary way. I didn’t think “Oh my God, look who I’m talking to.” Although when I first met him it was “Oh my God!” but after a while it became OK.

CCT: You’ve done duets with Elton John, Smokey Robinson and even Kiss’s Gene Simmons, but I’m not sure if you’ve ever made a more radical choice than singing “Lesbian Seagull,” the song you had in the “Beavis and Butt-Head” movie.

Humperdinck: (laughs) You know, I’ve never performed that live. I feel it’s a great song and a great talking piece and has given me lots of publicity in many ways but putting it in my show could be a little bit dangerous.

CCT: Well, I’ve never heard a more beautiful song about a homosexual relationship between two birds.

Humperdinck: Exactly. I know.

http://www.capecodtimes.com/entertainmentlife/20180719/humperdinck-sings-about-man-i-want-to-be


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Discography

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