Engelbert Humperdinck: ‘Singing my hits is so bitter-sweet’

Legendary Leicester-born singer Engelbert Humperdinck reveals the heart-breaking reason why performing is now such an emotional rollercoaster ride.

Engelbert Humperdinck

by Alison James |

Engelbert Humperdinck, who’s singles ‘Release Me’ and ‘The Last Waltz’ topped the UK charts in the 60s, will arrive back in the UK in April to perform a trio of high-profile concerts in the UK and Ireland. Being the consummate professional he is, these performances will be as slick and sophisticated as Englebert himself but he tells Yours there will be a sadness there too. As come April it will be just over a year since Engelbert's beloved wife and soulmate of 57 years, Patricia, passed away from complications related to Covid-19.

“It is hard for me,” he tells us from his base in Los Angeles. “I know it’s what Patricia would be urging me to do but some of the lyrics to my songs are very emotional and heartfelt and, since her passing, they’ve taken on an extra significance and I interpret them differently. It’s made the songs much more poignant and real.”

It was in August 2021 that Engelbert, who was born Arnold Dorsey, their four grown-up children, and his and Patricia’s grandchildren returned to their native Leicester to lay his wife to rest.

Engelbert Humperdinck and wife Patricia
©Getty

“It was important to Patricia and also to me that her final resting place was at home in Leicester,” he explains. “So that’s where she is right now – as well as being in heaven. I have a strong faith – we’re Catholic – and during Patricia’s final illness, we would pray around her bedside every night at 8pm. Patricia didn’t die from Covid exactly, rather from what happened to her body as a result of having had it. She had suffered from dementia for some years but we were starting to see a little improvement in her condition before she caught that horrible virus. God took her away from us but I know she’s at peace now.”

Engelbert will visit Patricia’s resting place while he’s back in the UK and although he may have been an international singing superstar for decades, he says Leicester will always be home. “I have a home in Leicestershire and totally treasure my home county and town,” he says. “The city has been very good to me. I love being back home. I have a beer in the local, enjoy Stilton, Melton Mowbray pork pie and good old fish and chips.”

Engelbert Humperdinck younger
©Getty

At an unbelievable 85, we’re dying to know how Engelbert stays ‘stage’ fit?

“I honestly don’t feel my age and try to keep as fit as possible,” he says. “I’m lucky enough to have a gym at home and work out on the treadmill and rowing machine. I still go out on my Harley Davidson motorbike. I eat a balanced diet and don’t have a paunch – I don’t like looking unruly when I walk on stage. I think I have also been blessed with good genes, though. I’ve never had any kind of surgery in my life. At my age, I think that’s saying something!”

Engelbert Humperdinck’s songs

Release Me (1967)

Lots of artists have covered this song written by Eddie Miller and Robert Yount, but Engelbert’s cover topped the UK charts in 1967, after selling over a million copies!

The Last Waltz (1967)

This single sold more than 1.17million copies in the UK alone and topped the charts in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and the Netherlands.

Am I That Easy to Forget (1968)

We love this upbeat track. It topped the charts in Ireland and was a number one hit on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US.

Spanish Eyes (1968)

This song was originally called 'Moon Over Naples'. It was composed and first performed in by German bandleader Bert Kaempfert in 1965.

Quando, Quando, Quando (1968)

Although this track did not receive the same success as some of Engelbert’s other songs, it listed as one of the singers most popular songs of all time on the official Engelbert Humperdinck website.

Did you know?...

• Engelbert was born in Madras, India the second youngest of ten children.

• He almost gave up singing in the early Sixties when he contracted tuberculosis, but thank goodness he didn’t – his No.1 singles Release Me (1966) and The Last Waltz (1967) sold more than a million copies each.

• During the early Seventies Engelbert recorded a number of signature songs (written by the likes of Paul Anka and Barry and Maurice Gibb) including We Made It Happen, Sweetheart and Too Beautiful to Last, but by the mid-Seventies, he moved on to performing live in lavish stage productions with shows in Las Vegas.

• The singer won a Golden Globe in 1988 as Entertainer of the Year. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

For more information about Engelbert’s 2022 UK dates, visit engelbert.com****__.

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