Engelbert Humperdinck developed his energetic stage style during his very early days. The veteran singer says: "My career started in the working men's clubs in England" "If you stood still for too long, you would get beer thrown at you on a rowdy night, no matter how good your singing chops were, or how smartly you were dressed. Even when I fell on my backside I would slide forward on my knees like it was part of the act."
Princes and kings can't beat my global fans, says Engelbert. Engelbert is still loving show business and has no plans to retire.
It has been 50 years since Engelbert's hit release Me stopped the Beatles from reaching the number one spot. The fact his version of the Old US COUNTRY HIT TRUMPED THE FAB FOUR'S Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever is still something the crooner, now 81, feels proud of. Sitting in a suite o a London Hotel, looking tanned and far younger than his years, witha jaunty red handkerchief popping out of his dark jacket pocket, he is marveling at the passage of time. "I can't believe it," he says. It's been 50 years of my show business career, Which all started with Release Me. IT REALLY WAS A STUNNING record that took me all over the world. it gave me a global career immediately and stopped the Beatles from having their 13th no. 1, which was rather unique. I'm a big Beatles fan, but they were real gentlemen and they never mentioned it. I talked with Paul and Ringo and they never brought it up. The success of the song happened almost by accident when Englebert was asked to stand in for Dickie Valentine on the Variety TV show Sunday Night At the London Paladium" Soon after his appearance, the song reached no. 1 and didn't move for six weeks. It stayed in the charts for the rest of 1967 and was the highest selling single of the year. The first taste of success is still something Englebert remembers clearly. "It was an amazing feeling, because Release Me wasn't a hit immediately, it took about three months -- and then I did Sunday Night at the London Palladium"' he says. "The next day, it started selling like 80,000 a day, 90,000 the next day and it went up to 127,000 a day, which was unheard of. Born Arnold George Dorsey in Chennai, India, in 1936, when it was still known as Madras, he still has the same energy a a young man, although he is perhaps a little harder of hearing than he once was. He says: "I'm not going to retire, what is that? Retire? I love what I do. "I don't know where my energy comes from. I'm growing old gracefully. "I don't intend to have anything done to my face or anything like that. "My mother and father had wonderful skin and I think they have left me that legacy. "It's just wonderful to know that at my age, I'm still doing about 80 concerts a year, It's just wonderful. "I feel I've achieved so much in my life and I'm still going strong, and I hope the sun never sets on my ending." While the music industry has changed over the years, Englebert keeps his finger on the pulse by tuning in to the voice. "Everything has t change and the industry really has, It has changed a lot." ha says. "I do love the the type of music that's about right now, I like what is happening. "I watch The Voice and that is informative as far as what is happening in music. "I don't switch on the radio and listen all day. Gone are the days when you can walk into a shop and buy the records you want. That is how I like to do it, go shopping and think "I want to buy that one or that one" "So would you like to join Sir To Jones on the voice judging panel?" "Yes and no" he mulls. "I'm happy with what I'm doing, but I would like to be a judge because with the experience I have, I can judge artists, their voices and their body language when they sing and teach them." While his regrets seem few and and far between, he is still miffed he missed a chance to work with Brit band Gorillaz. Back in 2009, Damon Albarn, then recorded the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, wanted some guest vocals and pitched the idea to Englebert's management, who said no without asking the singer. "That was a pain," he says. "It hit me so hard because the person who was managing me did not know anything about it and if only he had told me, I would have said: "Please go ahead, lets do it." "Unfortunately, he didn't know who they were, so he just turned it down. I was so upset." He's still hopeful he'll get another chance to work with Gorrillaz, but in the meantime, there is someone else he has his eye on for a collaboration. "I met Bruno Mars when he was five years old ," reveals Englebert. "We were having a fan club gathering party and who was there entertainment? Bruno Mars at five years old. "He was amazing then. I said 'This kid is going to star.' And isn't he Massive. "I would love to do something with him for old times sake." He adds: "I've been very fortunate, I've worked in front of Princes and Kings and those are big highlights, but the biggest highlight is knowing you can travel any place in the world and people know your music ---- that is a massive highlight."
Englebert Humplerdinck: 50 and the Complete Decca Studio Albums are out now on Decca Records.
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