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Engelbert Humperdinck

Ultrasmooth balladeer Engelbert Humperdinck was often billed as "the King of Romance," and for millions of fans around the world, he more than lived up to that title. Despite the strange name and the latter-day ads hawking his music on late-night TV, Humperdinck was one of the finest middle-of-the-road balladeers around, a sensitive lyric interpreter with excellent vocal technique and a three-and-a-half-octave vocal range. During his heyday in the late '60s and early '70s, Humperdinck cultivated the image of a mysterious heartthrob, sporting shaggy sideburns and a flamboyant wardrobe that, when coupled with his rich, silky crooning, drove female fans wild. He was especially popular in Europe and his native U.K., and his worldwide record sales -- counting both albums and singles -- eventually totaled well over 100 million. Like his friendly rival Tom Jones (with whom he shared a manager for many years), he later settled into a comfortable niche as a stalwart of the Las Vegas entertainment circuit.

Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey on May 2, 1936, in Madras, India. His father worked as an engineer for the British Army, and the family returned to England when Arnold was seven, settling in Leicester. Arnold took up the saxophone at age 11, but didn't really try his hand at singing until 17, when his friends talked him into entering a small local singing contest. Not only did he earn a standing ovation, he also impressed the audience with a knack for comic impressions, particularly Jerry Lewis (which he often included in his later live shows). In fact, his Lewis impression gave him his first stage name, Gerry Dorsey. He started singing in nightclubs, but after finishing school, he put his budding music career on hiatus to serve in the military through 1956.

When Dorsey returned, he got the chance to record for Decca in 1958, but the lone single released, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," flopped. He managed a few appearances on British television, most prominently on the show Oh, Boy!, and toured with Marty Wilde; the exposure helped him become a popular concert attraction in his own right, even though he had no hits of his own. His career was nearly derailed in 1961 when he contracted tuberculosis, which kept him completely out of commission for six months; once he recovered, he found that England's burgeoning rock & roll movement was pushing more traditional pop out of the spotlight.

As Gerry Dorsey, he struggled for several years until he got in touch with former roommate Gordon Mills in 1965. Once the lead singer of a skiffle group called the Viscounts, Mills had moved into artist management, and at the time was enjoying breakout success with Tom Jones. It was Mills who suggested that Dorsey change his name to the well-nigh unforgettable Engelbert Humperdinck, after the 19th century Austrian composer who adapted Hansel and Gretel into an opera. To create an air of mystery around the singer, Mills insisted that he refrain from any contact with his fans following concerts, even if that meant escaping through windows. The gimmicks worked, as the newly christened Humperdinck scored a new deal with Decca. His first two singles, "Dommage Dommage" and "Stay," were released in 1966, and both missed the charts. But the third time proved to be the charm. In 1967, Humperdinck cut a pop-ballad version of "Release Me," previously a hit for country singer Ray Price and R&B chanteuse Esther Phillips; Humperdinck's cover made the song a standard. Given some exposure by the singer's last-minute addition to a bill at the London Palladium, it rocketed to the top of the British charts and sold over a million copies, ultimately keeping the Beatles' seminal double-sided hit "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" out of the top spot. It also went to number four in America, where the accompanying album made the Top Ten.

"Release Me" kicked off a streak of seven straight Top Five hits in the U.K., which lasted into 1969. Those hits included "There Goes My Everything," the million-selling number one "The Last Waltz," "Am I That Easy to Forget," "A Man Without Love," "Les Bicyclettes de Belsize," and "The Way It Used to Be." While they weren't as successful on the American pop charts (none reached the Top Ten), they all made the Top Ten on the easy listening charts; his albums of the 1967-1970 period sold well too, as his first six all landed in the Top 20. Humperdinck's string of easy listening hits continued apace in the early '70s; 1970 brought "Winter World of Love," "Sweetheart," and "My Marie," and the following year "Another Time, Another Place" and "When There's No You." By this time, Humperdinck had become a hugely popular live act, touring extensively on the cabaret and nightclub circuits, and became a regular in Las Vegas as well.

Humperdinck concerts were such a profitable enterprise, in fact, that the singer's management began to de-emphasize recordings, instead encouraging him to continue touring. As a result, the chart placements of his less frequent new material were suffering considerably by the mid-'70s. In late 1976, after signing a new deal with Epic, Humperdinck did return to make his second appearance in the American Top Ten with "After the Lovin'," an adult contemporary chart-topper that also made the lower reaches of the country charts. The album of the same name made the Top 20 and gave him his biggest-selling LP since 1970. Humperdinck topped the adult contemporary charts one last time with 1979's "This Moment in Time," and had his last chart single in 1983, with "Til You and Your Lover Are Lovers Again."

Humperdinck continued to make a profitable living on tour and in Las Vegas, still commanding a sizable female following; by this time, his act featured several celebrity impressions -- not just Jerry Lewis, but Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, and Julio Iglesias. Compilations of his work were heavily advertised through direct-marketing campaigns on American television, keeping his sales at a steady pace; he also re-recorded much of his material in different languages, helping maintain his popularity across Europe. He attempted a recording comeback with the 1987 album Remember I Love You, which featured a duet with Gloria Gaynor and wound up earning him a Golden Globe Entertainer of the Year award. The lounge revival of the '90s helped bring traditional pop and smooth crooning back into fashion, and Humperdinck found himself with a new hip cachet; he capitalized by recording "Lesbian Seagull," a song for the Beavis and Butt-Head Do America soundtrack, in 1996. He followed it with a foray into contemporary dance-pop, The Dance Album, for the Interhit label in 1998; a new version of "Release Me" had some success in the dance clubs. In 2003, the Hip-O label issued Definition of Love, a new album featuring standards, rock oldies, and more recent pop hits by the likes of Aerosmith and Robbie Williams. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I've always love his songs. He makes me feel relax and in love again.
Grew up on him thanks to my dad and his love of music. Still have all of his albums. ��
Super Smooth indeed, Him and Tom was the best out of England that could've happened to us who like romantic music.
The man lived up to the man of romance title, he could have opened a lingerie store with all the freebies that were thrown on stage when he was on.
My kind of guy, someone to emulate with no doubt, LOL
Engelbert you and Tom Jones were my heroes back in the day. Loved it,!!!
Still very handsome
tbowmommy
$$$$$$$ bgg t.mu,jc&%;:+ / / lkkjc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
Englebert, the Main Man, I used to listen to this song and remember all the girls I used to send to sleep after making love, and I would be playing this song for them after waking up.
The best song After the Loving definitely.
Why do we have to get old, that is the question??
And the music today is garbage. That is a statement.
Andrea has a new version!!
lindalfairba i r n
Hoping to see him again this year. Two years ago, I was invited on stage with him, for the 2nd time!! What an experience! One of the best singers/ente r t a i n e r s of our time. Love him!!!!
Englebert Humperdinck
Love this man i can't wait to see him in Jan here in Miami, Fl
I tried to get Englebert on this station and it said he was not on your list while it was playing Spanish Eyes by him. I wanted to get Whiter Shade of Pale. I am confused. j arnold
His voice is just remarkable…. h a v e loved him forever ;)
slgaughran
Love his music and this is one of the best!!!
will see englebert october 12th at the taj majal in atlantic city cant wait hes super,,,,,ra n d y visconti
What a Great Song!!! His Best!!!
edwardslwend y
Is there. Any way to tell him he saved my sanity
This has got to be my favorite song by Englebert.
My parents like him they palyed his records (vinyl) and I always loved his voice.
Humperdinck. . . H a h a , The Princess Bride.
Wow haven't heard this man forever! Mom loved this guy! growing up..LOL.
what album is his recording of FOREVER TRUE on???
He is one of the BEST!!
I love this kind of music. Especially his.
i love it
luismarval25
I CAN DIE WITH THIS SONG....OH MY GOD!!!
hiland_r
love this song
My husband became very sick, and the sicker he got the more abusive! I would hear Enge's music and it healed my wounds and carried me over to a much better place for a very long time!
ksnirmal
He is half Indian, from Madras i.e. Anglo Indian. His mother is from India, father is British.
My great-aunt took me to see him at the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island, NY when I was 12. She always had his music playing whenever I was at her house. I'm 49 now and I still love his music & voice.
Just as good as he was 30 years ago
I have always enjoyed his music ever since I was a little girl, and still do. I definitely agree with kcolacino's comment - - - worldlcass smooth & creamy chocolate... . . . . . . . . . . . . :)
I vividly remember coming home from kindergarten (1967) at 5 yrs old and putting Release Me on the console stereo and singing to the top of my lungs. My favorite song from that album is Ten Guitars. I have attended several concerts throughout the years and listen to him whenever I want to de-stress. He and Dean Martin have natural voices that remind me of worldclass chocolate - smooth and creamy!
I first heard Englebert when I was just 6 (50 now). Our neighbor was just crazy for him and she would play his records over and over all afternoon long. I can still see her dancing around the house. Good memories. We need more singers like this today maybe then it would be a happier world.
gagapapa3
Nina is a nice name....it was my Mother's name.......
gagapapa3
I to enjoy this song....love to dance with my wife every time i hear this song.
Love this song... no great love here but, this is a great love song...
taria234
MR BLACKIE SURE LOVES ERGEBERT HE SURE SING A LOVE SONG AND MANY OTHERS AND I HAVE MY SPECIAL RECORDS
THAT I HAVE KEPT OVER THE YEARS
is he of indian blood?
I'm looking for the composer of the the childrn's opera, Hansel and Gretel
Have always his music, so smooth and not ear splitting like so much, so called music, is today, great listening for us old folks.
HIs touring almost never stops, so there's a good chance he'll be visiting a town near you! Go to www.engelber t . c o m where his tour schedule is continually updated, so keep checking.
I just discovered Engelbert about a month ago. I am a 40 year old married man and for me there is nothing on the radio today. He is fantastic, silky smooth.
mariongttmnn
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woodsynut
i would like to see him and tom jones tour once before it`s to late.
he's my favorite singer of all times AGMedina
ibissanchez
I love Engelbert ,his music melody and his voice wow amazing
Engelbert is by far the most romantic and best singer of all time. My husband used to tease me, but after one concert he was hooked. Thank you.
jolaspeed
I absolutely love his voice, he is the great singer. Went to his concert at the McCullum theatre in Palm Desert, it was really a great treat.
dayofpromise
Love this...Roman c e is my middle name! Love how his music moves me.
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