- Engelbert Humperdinck (singer)
Infobox musical artist
Name = Engelbert Humperdinck
Img_capt = Engelbert Humperdinck
Img_size = 200px
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Arnold George Dorsey
Alias = Engelbert Humperdinck
Born = Birth date and age|1936|5|2, Madras, India
Instrument = Vocals,
Genre = pop,
Years_active = 1956-present
Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold George Dorsey,
May 2 1936, Madras, India) is a well-known British-American pop singer who rose to international fame during the 1960s and 1970s, after adopting the name of the famous German opera composer Engelbert Humperdinckas his own stage name.
He was one of ten children of the
British Armyofficer Mervyn Dorsey and his wife Olive. Arnold George Dorsey's family migrated to Leicester, Englandwhen he was ten, and a year later he showed an interest in music and began learning the saxophone. By the early 1950s, he was playing in nightclubs, but he's believed not to have tried singing until he was seventeen and friends coaxed him into entering a pub contest. His impression of Jerry Lewisprompted friends to begin calling him Gerry Dorsey, a name he worked under for almost a decade. [ Stark, Herbert Alick. Hostages To India: OR The Life Story of the Anglo Indian Race. Third Edition. London: The Simon Wallenberg Press: Vol 2: Anglo Indian Heritage Books ]
His budding music career was interrupted when he served in the British military in the mid-1950s, but he got his first chance to record in 1958, when
Decca Recordsgave him a chance. His first single, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," was anything but a hit, but Dorsey and the label would reunite almost a decade later with far different results. Dorsey continued working the clubs until 1961, when he was stricken with tuberculosis. He regained his health but returned to club work with little success, until, in 1965, he teamed with an old roommate named Gordon Millswho had become a music impresario and the manager of Tom Jones. [ Stark, Herbert Alick. Hostages To India: OR The Life Story of the Anglo Indian Race. Third Edition. London: The Simon Wallenberg Press: Vol 2: Anglo Indian Heritage Books ] . He tasted his first real success in Belgiumin the summer of 1966. There, among four others, he represented Englandin the so called Knokke-cup, a yearly song contest held in July. In October he was on stage in Mechelen. In that period, Humperdinck was already No. 1 in the Belgian charts, 6 months before the release of Release Me. Belgian Television then made a video clip in the harbour of Zeebrugge[ [http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=q6yPObnNPIE YouTube - Engelbert - Dommage Dommage ] ]
Changes and chart topping
Aware that Dorsey had been struggling several years to make it in music, Mills suggested a name change to the more arresting Engelbert Humperdinck, borrowed from the composer of such operas as "Hansel and Gretel". Mills also arranged a new deal with Decca Records. And in early 1967, the changes paid off when Humperdinck's version of "Release Me," done in a smooth ballad style with a full chorus joining him on the third chorus, reached the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic and went to number one in Britain, keeping
The Beatles' adventurous " Strawberry Fields" from entering the top slot in the UK. Release Me also went on to become the longest running chart single in history. It spent 56 weeks in the Top 50 in a single chart run, a record that still holds to this day [cite web|url=http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=4510|title="Release Me"|publisher=ChartStats|accessdate=2008-09-23] .
Even in a year dominated by
psychedelicrock music, the success of "Release Me" may not have been that surprising, considering Frank Sinatra's chart comeback that began a year earlier, and stablemate Tom Jones's success with a ballad or two in the interim, both of which probably opened some new room for more traditionally-styled singers. "Release Me" was believed to sell 85,000 copies a day at the height of its popularity, and the song became the singer's signature song for many years.
Humperdinck's deceptively easygoing style and casually elegant good looks, a contrast to Tom Jones's energetic attack and overtly sexual style, earned Humperdinck a large following, particularly among women. "Release Me" was followed up by two more hit ballads, "
There Goes My Everything" and "The Last Waltz", earning him a reputation as a croonerthat he didn't always agree with. "If you are not a crooner," he told " Hollywood Reporter" writer Rick Sherwood, "it's something you don't want to be called. No crooner has the range I have. I can hit notes a bank could not cash. What I am is a contemporary singer, a stylized performer."
The hits kept coming---he charted with "
Am I That Easy to Forget" "A Man Without Love," "Les Bicyclettes de Belsize," "The Way It Used To Be," "I'm A Better Man," and "Winter World of Love" before the 1960s ended and the 1970s were truly underway; he scored with such albums as "The Last Waltz", "The Way It Used To Be", "A Man Without Love", and "Engelbert Humperdinck". So did his own television program, though it didn't last as long as Jones's program did, being cancelled after six months.
Beyond the 1960s
As top 40 radio became less hospitable to his kind of balladry and a few Broadway influences found their way into his music, Humperdinck concentrated on selling albums and on live performances, developing lavish stage presentations that made him a natural for Las Vegas and similar venues. He wasn't entirely a stranger to hit singles, however---"
After the Lovin'", a rhythmic ballad recorded for Epic, a CBSsubsidiary, became one of the biggest hits of his career in 1976 and earned the singer a Grammy Awardnomination for the album of the same name.
It was a conscious effort to update his music and his image. "I don't like to give people what they have already seen," Humperdinck was quoted as saying in a 1992 tourbook. "I take the job description of 'entertainer' very seriously! I try to bring a sparkle that people don't expect and I get the biggest kick from hearing someone say 'I had no idea you could do that!'" He also defended his fan mania, which helped him continue to sell records when radio play dried up for him. "They are very loyal to me and very militant as far as my reputation is concerned," Humperdinck had told Sherwood. "I call them the spark plugs of my success."
But he later revealed that he had little if any say in the selection of songs for his albums, a fact that had sometimes brought into question whether he was his own or his manager's or record label's pawn. As his career moved on, however, Humperdinck began gaining more creative freedom, and his albums accordingly brought several kinds of songs into his reach beyond syrupy ballads. But he kept romance at the core of his music regardless, and he's long since been tagged by fans as "the King of Romance."
1980s to present
By the 1980s, approaching his fiftieth birthday, Humperdinck continued recording albums regularly and performing as many as two hundred concerts a year---yet managed somehow to maintain a strong semblance of family life. He and his wife, Patricia, raised four children (Bradley, Scott, Jason, Louise) all of whom are said to have become involved, eventually, in their father's career, even as the family alternated between homes in England and in southern California.
In 1980 Sunday School teacher Kathy Jetter won a paternity ruling that Engelbert was the father of her daughter Jennifer born in 1980 and he has made paternity payments for her since then although he has declined to meet her. Diane Vincent also claimed that Engelbert was the father of her daughter Angelique and while Engelbert has never admitted the child was his he was forced to make a one-off settlement payment for her upbringing.
He was awarded a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Famein 1989 and won a Golden Globe Awardas entertainer of the year, while also beginning major involvement in charitable causes such as the Leukemia Research Fund, the American Red Cross, the American Lung Association, and several AIDSrelief organisations. He even wrote a song for one such group, the theme anthem for the group Reach Out. " [H] e's a gentleman," longtime friend Clifford Elson has been quoted as saying of him, "in a business that's not full of many gentlemen."
The 21st century
Humperdinck—who changed his name legally to his stage name at the height of his career (though he's known in Germany and Austria merely as Engelbert; the composer's heirs had sued him over his stage name adoption)—hit the top five British album charts in 2000 with "Engelbert At His Very best", and returned to the album top five four years later, after he appeared in a John Smiths advertisement.
In August 2005, Humperdinck auctioned his
Harley-Davidsonmotorcycle on eBayto raise money for the County Air Ambulance in Leicestershire, where he spent much of his British youth. His latest album released in September 2007 "The Winding Road" a tribute to British composers has done quite well. [http://musicnews.virgin.net/Virgin/Lifestyle/Music/virginMusicNewsDetail/0,13556,622140_music,00.html]
Engelbert Humperdinck bought the famed "
Pink Palace", the former home of actress Jayne Mansfieldduring the 1970s. He sold the forty-room, Mediterranean-style mansion---built in 1929 but famous for Mansfield's installation of a heart shaped swimming pool and pink lighting, and sitting on over an acre of land---for a reported $4,000,000, $3,025,000 more than Mansfield had paid, to developers who tore it down to make way for other houses in 2002.
His only daughter by his wife,
Louise Dorsey, made a brief foray into television during the 1980s. Most notably she appeared in an episode of Murder, She Wroteand voiced the new Misfits band member Jetta on the third and final season of Jem. She currently works for her father as a PR consultant and occasionally sings with him on stage.
Humperdinck appeared in a Christmas commercial for the office supplies store Staples in late 2006.
Humperdinck performed the introduction music "Little Boxes" on Season 2, Episode 3 of Showtime's comedy series
Jimi Hendrixwere on the same package tour as The Walker Brothersand Cat Stevensin 1967 [http://www.majicat.com/programs/walkerbrosreview.htm excerpt of concert review from NME.] and surprisingly the two got on quite wellFact|date=October 2007. Maxim magazinehas Humperdinck listed as being number 5 on its top ten "Living Sex Legends" list, as he is reputed to have slept with over 3000 women. [ [http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-charliesheenmaximlivingsexlegends,0,5057260.story Sheen Only No. 2 on 'Living Sex Legends' List - The 'Two and a Half Men' star allegedly has 5,000 notches on his rapidly dwindling bedpost - Zap2it ] ]
Am I That Easy to Forget"
*"Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You"
*"The Last Waltz"
After the Lovin'"
Quando, Quando, Quando"
*"A Man Without Love" (appears in
John Turturro's movie " Romance & Cigarettes")
*"This is My Song"
There Goes My Everything"
*"Christmas Songs - Engelbert's rendition of
Les Bicyclettes de Belsize"
Lesbian Seagull" (from the film " Beavis and Butt-head Do America")
*"Release Me" (1967) No 6
*"The Last Waltz" (1967) No 3
*"Man Without Love" (1968) No 3
*"Engelbert" (1969) No 3
*"Engelbert Humperdinck" (1969) No 5
*"We Made It Happen" (1970) No 17
*"Sweetheart" (1971) (Non Charting)
*"Another Time, Another Place" (1971) No 48
*"Live at the Riviera Las Vegas" (1972) No 45
*"In Time" (1972) (non charting)
*"Engelbert King of Hearts" (1973) (non Charting)
*"My Love" (1973) (non charting)
*"Engelbert Humperdinck- His Greatest Hits" (1974) (No 1)
*"After the Lovin"' (1976) (Non charting)
*"Miracles" (1977)) (Non Charting)
*"Last of the Romantics" (1978) (Non Charting)
*"This Moment in Time" (1979) (Non Charting)
*"Don't You Love Me Anymore" (1981)
*"You and Your Lover" (1983)
*"In Liebe" (1988)
*"Ich denk an Dich" (1989)
Hip-0"Always Hear The Harmony-The Gospel Sessions" (2003)"Definition Of Love" (2003)"Let There Be Love" (2005)
Universal"Totally Amazing" (2006)"The Winding Road" (2007)
¹ #1 Adult Contemporary hit for 1 week
² #1 Adult Contemporary hit for 2 weeks
List of best selling music artists
* [http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:e9fxlf3e5cqu Allmusic]
* [http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biography_home/331:0/Engelbert_Humperdinck.htm/ The Biography Channel]
* [http://music.yahoo.com/ar-251990-bio--Engelbert-Humperdinck/ Yahoo!]
* [http://www.starpulse.com/Music/Humperdinck,_Engelbert/ Starpulse]
* [http://www.livedaily.com/artists/bio/1491.html/ Live Daily]
* [http://www.engelbert.com/ Engelbert Humperdinck Official Website]
* [http://www.e-fansite.com/engelbert Engelbert Humperdinck Fansite]
* [http://beehive.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/default.asp?WCI=SiteHome&ID=8354&PageID=44924 Interviews in the Leicester Mercury]
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