Engelbert Humperdinck biography
Born Arnold George Dorsey in India on May 2, 1936, singer Engelbert Humperdinck got his distinctive name from his manager (who also managed Tom Jones). He hit it big with the song "Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)" in 1967, following up with seven consecutive number one hits. Humperdinck became a regular on the touring circuit and his songs have been used in several movie soundtracks.
Singer. Born Arnold George Dorsey in Madras, India, on May 2, 1936. The second youngest of 10 children born to Mervyn and Olive Dorsey, Humperdinck spent the first 11 years of his life in Madras, where his father worked as an engineer. In 1947, the future crooner moved with his family to England, where they settled in Leicester.
A self described dreamer and loner, Humperdinck, who played the saxophone, dropped out of school at the age of 15. After a stint doing National Service in Germany, he started singing in men's clubs, but it was a hard way to make a living. Singing under the name Gerry Dorsey, Humperdinck scraped by financially. When he married and became a father (he and his wife Patricia would go on to have four children together), Humperdinck felt the pressure to get his career off the ground.
In attempt to reinvent himself, the performer followed the advice of his new manager, who also oversaw fellow singer, Tom Jones. His manager changed his name to Engelbert Humperdinck, the same name as the late 19th century German composer and creator of the opera, Hansel and Gretel. Without any protest, the singer bought into the idea. "I had no choice," he'd say later. "I was a starving singer, and someone was giving me a chance to get on in the business."
Not long after, things started to fall into place for Humperdinck. He signed a record deal, landed a spot on the esteemed Sunday Night at the London Palladium, and in 1967, after two missed singles, hit it big with "Release Me." The song thrust Humperdinck into the spotlight, and put a permanent end to any fears that he might not make it in show business. At one point the single sold 80,000 copies a day; managed to fend off the Beatles' "Penny Lane" from the top of the charts; and proved to be the first of seven consecutive Top 10 U.K. hits over the next two years.
In the decades since, Humperdinck has proven to be a steady producer of new material, and a constant on the concert circuit. Even today the singer, often called the King of Romance, averages a good 140 shows per year.
Humperdinck and his wife Patricia split their time between their residences in California and England.