Engelbert Humperdinck: Sideburns Intact, Singer Back in Spotlight with New Album
The 1960s British invasion was at full cry when singer Engelbert Humperdinck, who had been struggling in England for more than a decade, broke through with a pop version of an old country hit, Release Me (1967).
The ballad shot to No. 1 in Britain and No. 4 in the United States.
Fresh from a career-changing makeover — the 31-year-old singer darkened his hair and grew long, thick sideburns — Humperdinck also exchanged his given name, Arnold George Dorsey, for a new, gimmicky stage moniker borrowed from a German composer best-known for the opera Hansel and Gretel (1893).
He offered dreamy easy-listening songs and billed himself as “The King of Romance.”
The revamp is still paying off.
Since then, Humperdinck has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide.
Now the 78-year-old singer — whose other hits include A Man Without Love (1968), Spanish Eyes (1969) and After the Lovin’ (1976) — has recently released an album, Engelbert Calling, and is in the midst of a North American concert tour.
He is scheduled to perform on May 10 at the Hard Rock Rocksino at Northfield Park in the village of Northfield, Ohio.
His first venture into recorded duets, the CD includes Something About the Way You Look Tonight with Elton John, Release Me with Wynonna Judd and Spinning Wheel with Gene Simmons.
Humperdinck also works with Charles Aznavour, Willie Nelson and Dionne Warwick.
“To have been in the same studio working with these people who are giants has
given me a new life, fresh blood,” Humperdinck said, by telephone from his Los Angeles home.
Born in Madras, India, the singer grew up in Leicester, England. His father was an Irish soldier in the British army; his mother, a half-German violin teacher with an operatic voice.
“I’m quite a mixture,” he said.
The singer has twice found it necessary to rebuild his career almost from scratch. Once came early on, when tuberculosis almost killed him, and the second came years later, as the result of an ill-advised business decision.
His breakthrough to success had come under the guidance of manager Gordon Mills, who had come up with the Humperdinck name, and also managed pop singers Tom Jones and Gilbert O’Sullivan.
Humperdinck, Jones and Mills were partners in Management Agency & Music, which included M.A.M. Records.
“My manager was very partial to Tom,” Humperdinck recalled, “and I got upset about that and decided to leave the company. It cost me millions and millions and millions of dollars. I had to remake everything.”
Besides Jones, Humperdinck also knew and was friends with another rival, Elvis Presley — who, he claims, swiped his long-sideburns look.
Humperdinck has had his share of highly publicized controversies, including a successful paternity suit against him and a failed libel suit against the National Enquirer for its report that his former mistress had alleged, falsely, that he was suffering from AIDS.
Through it all, he and his wife, the former Patricia Healey, have stayed wed for 50 years. They have four children, two of whom — Bradley and Louise Dorsey — sing with their father on the new CD.
The way Humperdinck tells it, his profession fell into his lap serendipitously.
At 17, working toward a career as a saxophone player, he sang an impromptu song at an English pub and got a standing ovation.
Working as Gerry Dorsey, singing and also doing Jerry Lewis impressions, he plugged away for a few years until, at age 25, he came down with tuberculosis. It stopped his career cold and almost did the same to his life.
Humperdinck did survive, though, and resumed his career. Thanks to Release Me, he became one of the music’s top acts almost overnight.
“What made me successful was the combination of changing my name, dyeing my hair and growing my sideburns,” he said, “and getting a song that was so universally appealing. With all those put together, I scored very heavily — and thank God for that.”
Engelbert Humperdinck: Sideburns intact, singer back in spotlight with new album
By Jane Wollman Rusoff
NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATE • Thursday October 30, 2014 7:57 AM
Engelbert Was the Mystery Guest on Good Day NY This Morning
Did you miss it?
Engelbert Humperdinck: I'd Judge on 'The Voice," But Not with Tom Jones
Watch the full TV interview here:
EH 2015 Calendar Ready To Order
Order your copy here:
Engelbert Interview Live on Huffington Post - Thursday, October 30th
Tune in and watch it live here at 12:40PM:
"Engelbert Calling" in the Top 40 on the Amazon Charts!
Amazon Best Sellers Rank #38!
(The Perfect Thanksgiving Gift)
Order your copy here:
Pete McMurray from WGN Radio 720 Talks with Engelbert Humperdinck about His New Duets Album "Engelbert Calling"
Listen to the full radio interview here:
Willie Nelson, Engelbert Humperdinck Duet "Make You Feel My Love" Makes First Round of Grammy Nominations
Willie Nelson has made the first rounds of the 2015 Grammy Nominations for Best Country Duo/Group Performance with “Make You Feel My Love,” a collaboration he did with UK artist Engelbert Humperdinck, off his album ‘Engelbert Calling.’
If you are a voting member of the Recording Academy, please vote to make it to the next round. The ballots need to be in by 5PM on Wednesday November 5th.
Engelbert Humperdinck Bound for Atlantic City, New Brunswick
If you've got something that works, stick with it.
That's what Engelbert Humperdinck is doing, and has for nearly a half-century.
At 78, the India-born British singer behind such hits as "Release Me" and "There Goes My Everything" shows no signs of slowing. Humperdinck has two upcoming shows in New Jersey and a new album of duets, "Engelbert Calling," in which he harmonizes with an eclectic group of artists from Elton John to Willie Nelson to Olivia Newton-John to Gene Simmons.
Humperdinck — who was born Arnold Dorsey — spoke in a recent telephone interview.
Q. You could sit home, but you're on the road. Is touring a grind these days?
A. Actually, I just finished a seven-day tour, and it was quite grueling, in fact -- a different city every night, on the bus, etc. But it's fine. It's a part of my life. It's been a part of how I live for a very long time now. I enjoy it very much.
Q. There's quite an array of performers on "Engelbert Calling." Does the title indicate that you called everyone personally?
A. I mostly did it myself. The title "Englebert Calling" came about because one night, I was listening to a live album by Elton John. As he was introducing a song, he said, "I wrote this when I was a struggling artist waiting for an Engelbert to call and ask for a song." Well, I didn't ask for that song, but I did call him (laughs). Elton was the first call I made, in fact, and he said yes, of course. Having Elton was like having a honeycomb -- he attracted everyone else to come and contribute.
Q. Gene Simmons of Kiss is on your record. Did you work with him in the studio?
A. In the studio. Gene Simmons was absolutely amazing. Because, we are on two totally different sides of the ocean, as far as our business goes. He's a rocker, and I'm in the romantic area. But he was such fun. He's a rock god, but he has a great sense of humor, which he brought into the studio. He kept saying, "Eng, just have fun. Have fun with it."
Q. What do you remember about growing up in India?
A. You know, living in a tropical country when you're that young — there was a lot of sunshine and a lot of attention — my father was in the army — so I was really spoiled in a lot of ways. But I did enjoy my time over there.
Q. You moved to England at age 10. Was that culture shock?
A. It was a great change, but it was absolutely wonderful. We had never seen snow before. Cold was something we had never experienced before. But I got to love it. That's where I call home now. I still have a home in Leicestershire, in England. That's where I will go to celebrate Christmas and New Year's.
Q. You've been talking about this for 40-some years, but please indulge me. In the 1960s when you emerged, comedians made hay with your stage name. Given that the name is so unusual, did it give you pause?
A. It gave me recognition. But I had my reservations, I'll tell you. I was worried about the length of the name. I thought, "My gosh, how am I going to sign this name? It's so long, it sounds like the name of a group!" But it's served its purpose. The original person who owned the name (a composer) died in (1921). I'm the only Engelbert Humperdinck around today. I was fortunate enough to sell 150 million records under that name.
Q. There was always an imagined rivalry between you and Tom Jones. But you were on his TV show, and he was on yours. Are you friends?
A. To be honest, we were friends in the early days, when (talent agent) Gordon Mills was managing us both at the same time. Then when I went out on my own — because I felt Mills was being partial to one person — from then on, we have never spoken to each other. That's been 28 years.
Q. You're still known as a romantic figure. Do you still see a twinkle in the eyes of ladies in the audience?
A. Certainly (laughs). I'm sort of a generator. When I'm onstage, and I generate this feeling, this electricity that I have with the audience. It's still exciting for me. It has been for 47 years.
ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK • OCT. 31: 9 p.m. at Harrah's Atlantic City, 777 Harrah's Blvd., Atlantic City. $45 to $73.50. (609) 441-5000 or visit harrahsresort.com • NOV. 9: 7 p.m. at the State Theatre, 15 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. $35 to $95; call (732) 246-7469 or visit statetheatrenj.org.
By Mark Voger | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com updated October 27, 2014 at 8:04 AM
Music Legend Engelbert Humperdinck to Perform in El Paso
Music legend Engelbert Humperdinck is coming to El Paso.
The four-time Grammy Award nominee and Golden Globe "Entertainer of the Year" will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Plaza Theatre, organizers announced today.
Tickets, which will cost $45, $55, $75 and $85, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday and will be available at the Plaza Theatre Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com. VIP passes also will be on sale.
Humperdinck is an English pop singer best known for his hits "Release Me," "The Last Waltz," "Spanish Eyes" and "After the Lovin'." He released his first single, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," in 1958. In 1966, he won a singing contest and later released a string of singles that proved commercially successful. Gaining a devoted fan following, he also fronted a short-lived television series, "The Engelbert Humperdinck Show."
Few realize that several of music's biggest acts, including Jimi Hendrix and The Carpenters, started out as opening acts for the crooner in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Humperdinck has 63 gold records, 24 platinum records and has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Information: 231-1100; elpasolive.com.
POSTED: 10/23/2014 04:50:03 PM MDT