Engelbert Humperdinck – A Short Bio
Engelbert Humperdinck was born in Madras, India on the 2nd of May 1936. His real name is Arnold George Dorsey. His father was British Army NCO Mervyn Dorsey and mother Olive is of Indian heritage. The family moved to Leicester, England, when he was ten.
Engelbert Humperdinck interest in music started very early when he began learning the saxophone. By the year he was seventeen he was already playing saxophone in nightclubs. However, he did not give any thought about becoming a singer then. A turn of events and his enlistment for national service in the British Army Royal Corps of Signals during the mid-1950 interupted his career for a few years.
In 1965, Dorsey teamed up with his former roommate, Gordon Mills, who had become a music impresario and the manager of Tom Jones. Aware that Dorsey had been struggling for several years to become successful in the music industry, Mills suggested a name-change to the more arresting Engelbert Humperdinck, borrowed from the German 19th-century composer of operas such as Hansel and Gretel. Mills also arranged a new deal for him with Decca Records. Dorsey has been performing under this name ever since, although in Germany he only uses Engelbert as his stage name since Humperdinck’s family disallowed him to use the last name on stage.
Humperdinck’s first real success came in July 1966, where he and four others represented England in the annual Knokke song contest in Belgium.
In early 1967, Engelbert Humperdinck’s version of “Release Me”, made it to the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic and number one in Britain, beating The Beatles’ adventurous “Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane” from the top slot in the UK.
Another groundbreaking video showed Engelbert tied up with a lasso. “Release Me” 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.
Humperdinck’s popularity remains strong as ever throughout the Seventies and till today.
In 19 December 2009 saw Humperdinck perform at Carols in the Domain, a popular Christmas event held in Sydney, Australia. 17 October 2010 found him in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the prestigious Orchestra Hall, in a performance arranged by the booker Lilly Schwartz.
In November 2010 he returned to Australia for a number of concerts, while adding a new studio album, Released, to his discography
Humperdinck’s albums has sold 150 million copies worldwide.