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Engelbert Humperdinck: Iconic Crooner with a Legendary Voice

Full Name Arnold George Dorsey
Age 87
Birthday May 2, 1936
Birth Sign Taurus
Born India
Height 6′ 1′′
Net Worth $180M

Engelbert Humperdinck is an internationally renowned singer and entertainer who has been delighting audiences for over 50 years with his smooth baritone vocals and easy listening ballads. Though his birth name was Arnold George Dorsey, he adopted the stage name Engelbert Humperdinck early in his career and it stuck. Let‘s take a closer look at the life and music of this iconic crooner.

Early Life and Career Beginnings in India and England

Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey on May 2, 1936 in Madras, British India to British army officer Mervyn Dorsey and his wife Olive. He was one of ten children. The family relocated to Leicester, England when Humperdinck was 14 years old.

As a teenager, Humperdinck displayed an early talent for music and performed in pubs and clubs while serving in the British Army during his National Service in the 1950s. He started out playing the saxophone and eventually began singing. Some of his early influences included Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.

Humperdinck‘s professional music career began in the 1960s when he was managed by Gordon Mills, who also managed Tom Jones. Mills suggested the name change to Engelbert Humperdinck, after the eccentric German composer of operas in the 1800s. The new moniker was meant invoke a more alluring, continental persona compared to Arnold Dorsey.

Breakthrough Success with Release Me and The Last Waltz

In 1967, Engelbert Humperdinck achieved his breakthrough after releasing "Release Me," a soulful ballad that showcased his rich baritone and soaring vocals. It rocketed to #1 on both the UK and US charts, preventing the Beatles from reaching the top spot. This first major hit was followed by other successes like "The Last Waltz" and "Am I That Easy to Forget" which also topped the charts in multiple countries.

Riding high on his newfound popularity, Humperdinck quickly became a sensation on television variety shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and even had his own BBC TV series. His meteoric rise was acknowledged by the music industry when he won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1967, beating out bands like The Beatles and The Doors. Humperdinck‘s smooth delivery and handsome looks made him an instant heartthrob.

Las Vegas Stardom and Continued Accolades

By the early 1970s, Engelbert Humperdinck was bringing his silky ballads to the stages of Las Vegas. His successful residencies at the Flamingo Hotel and Hilton cemented his status as a marquee act. During this period he continued releasing singles like "After the Lovin‘" and "This Moment in Time" that underscored his mastery as a pop balladeer.

Over the ensuing decades, Humperdinck has maintained an active performance and recording career. He‘s collaborated with contemporary artists like Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, and Neil Sedaka. His loyal fanbase of "Humperdinckers" has supported him through 90 album releases and sales of over 150 million records worldwide.

Some career highlights include:

  • Being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for services to music and charitable work
  • Getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989
  • Winning Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year in 1973
  • Induction into the Casino Legends Hall of Fame in 2018

Even in his 80s, he still tours regularly and delights audiences with his legendary voice.

Musical Style and Enduring Appeal

Engelbert Humperdinck‘s specialty has always been delivering lush, string-laden ballads and polished middle-of-the-road pop. His rich baritone oozes romance and earnest emotion. He expertly avoids vocal histrionics in favor of controlled, easy listening deliveries.

While some music critics have characterized his style as old-fashioned, there‘s no denying Humperdinck‘s stellar vocal chops and mastery of artful pop arrangements. His catalog of heartfelt love songs and infectiously hummable melodies remains beloved by generations of fans.

Humperdinck has directly influenced many other crooners and artists within the easy listening genre. His music exemplifies a smooth style that found widespread appeal in the late 60s and early 70s. There are few singers alive today who can match the silky warmth and intimacy of Humperdinck‘s legendary voice.

Fun Facts and FAQs About Engelbert Humperdinck

  • Humperdinck wasn‘t his original name – it was created as a stage name by his manager Gordon Mills in 1967.
  • He has been married four times and has five children. His current wife is Patricia.
  • Some of his biggest musical influences are Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra.
  • He represented the UK in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Love Will Set You Free", finishing in 25th place.
  • Queen Elizabeth II made him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1987 and then knighted him in 2000.

What genre of music is Engelbert Humperdinck known for?
He is known for singing easy listening ballads in a middle-of-the-road pop style. His rich baritone voice epitomized the smooth "crooner" sound.

How many albums has Engelbert Humperdinck released?
He has released over 90 albums, including both studio albums and live recordings, since 1967. His discography includes major hits like Release Me, The Last Waltz, and After the Lovin‘.

How did Engelbert Humperdinck get his stage name?
His manager Gordon Mills suggested changing his name from Arnold Dorsey to Engelbert Humperdinck after the 19th century German opera composer. It gave him a more intriguing, continental persona.

What were some of Engelbert Humperdinck‘s biggest hits?
His number one hits included Release Me, The Last Waltz, Am I That Easy to Forget, and After the Lovin‘. Other major successes were A Man Without Love, Les Bicyclettes de Belsize, and The Way It Used To Be.

Why does Engelbert Humperdinck have such lasting appeal?
His smooth vocals and romantic ballads have a timeless, nostalgic charm. Fans are drawn to his rich voice, earnest delivery, and easy listening style even after 50+ years in music. He maintains a strong connection with his loyal listeners.