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 Humperdinck as his own stage name.
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 Records gave 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 Mills who had become a music impresario and the manager of Tom Jones.. He tasted his first real success in Belgium in the summer of 1966. There, among four others, he represented England in 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
Even in a year dominated by psychedelic rock 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 crooner that 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.
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."
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 Fame in 1989 and won a Golden Globe Award as 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 AIDS relief 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."
In August 2005, Humperdinck auctioned his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on eBay to 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.
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 Wrote and 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.
Maxim magazine has 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.
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)
|Year||Title||US Chart Position||UK Chart Position|
|January||1967||"Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)"||#4||#1|
|May||1967||"There Goes My Everything"||#20||#2|
|August||1967||"The Last Waltz"||#25||#1|
|January||1968||"Am I That Easy to Forget"||#18||#3||¹|
|April||1968||"A Man Without Love (Quando M'Innamoro)"||#19||#2|
|September||1968||"Les Bicyclettes de Belsize"||#31||#5|
|February||1969||"The Way It Used To Be"||#42||#3|
|August||1969||"I'm A Better Man"||#38||#15|
|November||1969||"Winter World Of Love"||#16||#7|
|May||1971||"When There's No You"||#45||–||¹|
|September||1971||"Another Time, Another Place"||#43||#13|
|March||1972||"Too Beautiful To Last"||#86||#14|
|December||1972||"I Never Said Goodbye"||#61||-|
|June||1973||"I'm Leavin' You"||#99||-|
|October||1973||"Love Is All"||#91||#44|
|November||1975||"This Is What You Mean To Me"||#102||-|
|October||1976||"After the Lovin'"||#8||–||²|
|June||1977||"Goodbye My Friend"||#97||-|
|December||1978||"This Moment In Time"||#58||–||¹|
|March||1980||"Love's Only Love"||#83||-|
|July||1983||"Til You And Your Lover Are Lovers Again"||#77||-|
|March||1988||"Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You"||–||#93|
|January||1999||"Quando Quando Quando"||–||#40|
|May||2000||"How To Win Your Love"||–||#59|
¹ #1 Adult Contemporary hit for 1 week
² #1 Adult Contemporary hit for 2 weeks