Happy 81st birthday to Arnold George Dorsey, born on May 2nd, in Madras, India in 1936, when the country was still under British rule. His family moved to Leicester, England when he was 10 and he soon started showing an interest in music, picking up the saxophone. By the early 1950s, he was playing sax in nightclubs. The idea of becoming a singer didn’t really occur to him until he was 17, when friends coaxed him to enter a pub contest. His uncanny impression of Jerry Lewis prompted friends to call him “Gerry Dorsey”, a name he adopted and performed under for nearly 10 years. In the mid 60’s, he teamed up with Gordon Mills, a former roommate, who’d had become a successful music impresario, managing the careers of Tom Jones and Gilbert O’Sullivan. It was Gordon who suggested the unusual stage name, “Engelbert Humperdinck,” borrowed from the famous Austrian composer. With his new name, big voice and sexy persona, Engelbert quickly became a major recording star. All told, he’s sold nearly 200 million records worldwide.
Today, 50 years after his first big hit “Release Me”, he still tours incessantly, playing 80 to 90 dates a year. He’ll play the NAC on Thursday night. There are still tickets available for that performance. What keeps him going is his fans. “I am good to them because they are good to me,” says Engelbert. “That is civility as taught by my mother. Everything I sing, I sing with my heart & soul and they know that.” You might be surprised to learn that Engelbert Humperdinck still nervous before every performance. He says before he walks onstage, his hands are cold, his feet are cold, and he stomps around backstage as part of his warm-up routine. With no plans to retire, he says there’s still lots he wants to do. According to a Huffpost interview, Englebert was quoted as saying “What I would love to do is show my face on television a bit more. I think I could do ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and I’d like to do a commercial. You know those Dos Equis ads? ‘The most interesting man in the world?’ How about the most romantic man in the world?” How about that?
Listen to Steve Boyton’s interview with Engelbert Humperdinck here: http://985thejewel.com/audio-steve-boyton-in-conversation-with-engelbert-humperdinck/
Image source: http://www.lifetimetv.co.uk/people/engelbert-humperdinck