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Engelbert Humperdinck Teases New Music While Reflecting on Elvis, Dean Martin Friendships

March 10, 2024

MAR 8, 2024 5:09 PM· 


It’s hardly a surprise that Engelbert Humperdinck describes himself as a romantic. After all, he’s been singing some of the world’s most beautiful love songs, including the hits “Release Me,” “A Man Without Love” and “After the Lovin,’” for six decades. “I have always approached my music with a romantic touch, singing these wonderful lyrics about love,” Engelbert, 87, tells Closer exclusively. “I think romance is what makes the world go round.”

The critically acclaimed performer released his most recent album, All About Love, last May. He is also the subject of a new documentary, Engelbert Humperdinck: The Legend Continues, and will be hitting the road this spring on his 2024 concert tour. “When people go to a concert, they want to hear the old songs they can relate to,” he says. “I’m grateful that the songs I recorded over 50 years ago are still as precious as when I recorded them.”

You were born to British citizens living in India. What do you remember from your childhood in Madras?

“It was just a magical country to be in. My father was in the service. We lived in a beautiful place, right near the harbor, in a massive house. It was such a colorful country. When you looked at the streets, they looked Technicolor because of the kind of garments that people wore. And the climate was perfect. You never had to worry about the cold. When the rains came, it was like a breath of fresh air. As a kid, it was all very exciting.”

Where did your love of music come from?

“My family all loved to sing together. I can remember songs that I used to sing when I was like 5 or 6 years old. Later, I heard Jimmy Dorsey play. He was a saxophonist, and he played this song called ‘So Rare,’ which I fell in love with. I decided at 11 years old that I would like to start playing the saxophone. I wasn’t very good at it. I am glad that my instrument was in my throat because it was less scary and easier to handle. I was much more successful using my voice as my instrument.”

Were your parents supportive of your dream?

“I can remember when I was a struggling artist my father said to my young lady, who was to be my wife, ‘Why don’t you tell him to get a proper job?’ And she said, ‘He will do what he wants to do. He’s like you, very stubborn!’ She stood up for me, she was so great.”

But success didn’t happen quickly for you.

“No, I went to London, and I tried to break into show business. I had so many agents and many managers, and I really got disappointed. I learned that the first condition [for success] was a willingness to take rejection. And I took it many, many times! But it didn’t put me off. You’ve got to keep knocking on doors and struggling.”

You were born Arnold Dorsey. How did you change your name?

“I first changed my name to Gerry Dorsey, and I tried for many years under that name. Then a guy called Gordon Mills, who eventually started to manage me, gave me the name Engelbert Humperdinck. It proved worthwhile to have a very different name.”

The song “Release Me” became your first hit in 1967. How did it change your life?

“It was just an amazing transformation, from nothing to something. I was able to pay off my debts, and the taxman stopped knocking on my door! It was just unbelievable what that one record did for me. That song traveled all around the world. That doesn’t happen today. My career was so brand-new, and once I got one hit — I got three in one year! It was just huge. I was doing 300 performances a year.”

You also became the star of your own variety series in 1969. What was that like?

“It was a learning experience. Guests like Tony Bennett and Jerry Lewis came over to do my show. Each time I’ve worked with somebody, I learned something different from them. If you’re going to steal, you have to steal from the best.”

You also became friends with Elvis Presley. What was he like?

“One of the most gracious people I’ve ever met in my life. You know when you first meet somebody, they usually shake hands? Well, this guy didn’t. He embraced me. We got on well together. He would come see my show, and I would go see his show in Vegas.”

How about Dean Martin? You were on his show.

“He was such a character. He never ever called me ‘Engelbert.’ He always called me ‘Humpty Bumpy Lumpty Dumpty.’ He was the most incredible person I’ve ever met in my life. A wonderful, wonderful man.”

Did you know Sammy Davis Jr.?

“Sammy was a wonderful man, too! I have a lovely story about him — I was playing golf with him in Lake Tahoe. He was hitting the ball all over the place. I said to Sammy, ‘You’re my partner, keep your eye on the ball!’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Engelbert, I have no choice!’ [Laughs] Of course, he only had one eye! I didn’t realize what I was saying.”

Did your kids follow you into performing?

“My children have been a part of my professional life for a long time. I have three boys and a girl. Some of them have been onstage with me, singing a couple of songs. And now my daughter’s daughter, who is 14 years old, is a brilliant singer. I’m sure she’s going to be a star.

You lost your wife, Patricia, in 2021 after nearly 60 years together. That must have been very difficult.

“Without her, I don’t think I would have been where I am today. She was very, very supportive of me, and she put up with a lot. She raised the children because I was on the road all the time. She was the backbone to my life. When I lost her, I lost part of my life. There’s a song that I dedicate to her in my show. It’s a song I wrote 30 years ago, and now the lyrics are even more poignant. It touches me every time I sing it.”

In addition to the tour, documentary and new album, you are planning new music. Can you tell us about it?

“Next year, I will step out of my comfort zone and do something a little bit different. It’s a rather unusual concept album. Hopefully, people will enjoy this new music. I am very excited about it.”





All About LoveAll About Love
You’re The First, The Last, My EverythingYou’re The First, The Last, My Everything
Warmest Christmas WishesWarmest Christmas Wishes
The Man I Want to Be The Man I Want to Be
The Complete Decca Studio AlbumsThe Complete Decca Studio Albums
Engelbert Humperdinck - 50Engelbert Humperdinck - 50
Christmas CDChristmas CD
Runaway CountryRunaway Country
Engelbert CallingEngelbert Calling
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
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
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
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
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
We Made It HappenWe Made It Happen
Engelbert HumperdinckEngelbert Humperdinck
A Man Without LoveA Man Without Love
Last WaltzLast Waltz
Release MeRelease Me