Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey, one of ten siblings. His father served in the British military, and his mother was an opera singer and taught the violin. They all lived in Leicester and Engelbert still has strong ties with the city, receiving a star on the Leicester Walk Of Fame, an honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Leicester in 2006 and was awarded the Freedom of the City in 2009.
After a life-threatening and career damaging bout of Tuberculosis at the start of his career, the young Gerry Dorsey, as he became known, realised that he needed a big comeback and he changed his name to Engelbert Humperdinck. It was just outrageous enough to be memorable and it would take a man with a secure self image and a sense of humour to pull it off.
In early 1967 the changes paid off when Humperdinck's version of Release Me scored the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic and scored number one in Britain and spent 56 weeks in the Top 50 in a single chart run. Release Me was believed to have sold 85,000 copies a day at the height of its popularity, and for years, it was the best known of his songs.
This was followed up by several more top ten hits, including There Goes My Everything, The Last Waltz, Am I That Easy To Forget, Les Bicyclettes De Belsize and A Man Without Love. Curiously the last of those songs shares its title with the United Kingdom entry in 1966, but is a totally different song.
In 1971 he had a number 13 hit with a song more closely associated with the contest, Another Time Another Place, which had been an entry in that year's A Song For Europe, where it had finished joint last when sung by Clodagh Rodgers.
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. Few people realise that it was Humperdinck, not Elvis, who made famous the sideburns and leather jumpsuits. Engelbert often jokingly asserts that Elvis "stole" the image from him.
Humperdinck has been a big name in the international music industry for over forty-five years, with over 150 million records sold worldwide. He has recorded everything from romantic ballads to finger-tapping up tempo hits. His remarkable voice and extraordinary talent has endeared him to millions of fans around the globe.
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He has been especially popular in Europe and his native United Kingdom with many of his singles reaching the top 10 in charts in Germany, The Netherlands and Norway.
Humperdinck is currently in the studio recording a brand new album with Grammy award winning producer Martin Terefe and writer Dan Wilson with surprising contemporary collaborations.