With four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year (1988), 63 gold and 24 platinum records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Engelbert Humperdinck might rest easy on his laurels. Not likely. With More than 150 million records sold and new collaborations in the works with artists like Sir Elton John and Seal, Humperdink continues to be a steady producer of new material and active as both a recording and touring artist.
He’ll bring his show to Three Stages at Folsom Lake College on Monday, Feb. 18.
Born Arnold George Dorsey he took an early interest in music, starting out as a saxophone player before moving on to singing. Performing under the name Gerry Dorsey, he scraped by financially until he was struck with tuberculosis. In an attempt to reinvent himself after recovery, he followed the advice of his new manager, who also oversaw fellow singer Tom Jones. He changed his name to Engelbert Humperdinck, the same name at the late 19th century German composer of the opera, “Hansel and Gretel.” The name was just outrageous enough to be memorable.
“I had no choice,” Humperdinck recalled. “I was a starving singer, and someone was giving me a chance to get on in the business.”
His career took off shortly after than when he recorded “Release Me (And Let me Love Again),” the song that thrust Humperdinck into the spotlight. At one point the single sold 80,000 copies a day and managed to fend off the Beatles’ Penny Lane from securing the No. 1 position at the top of the charts. It proved to be the first of seven consecutive Top 10 U.K. hits over the next few years, including “The Last Waltz,” “After the Lovin’” and “A Man Without Love.”
Few people realize that several of the major forces in the world of rock n’ roll, including Jimi Hendrix and The Carpenters, started out as opening acts for Humperdinck in the late 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Humperdinck has recorded everything from the most romantic ballads to the platinum-selling theme song for the latest Beavis and Butthead movie. He is currently working on a brand new CD with Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe (Train, Jason Mraz, James Morrison, Beverly Knight) with, according to Humperdinck, “a lot of fantastic young, hip and surprising collaborations.” The album is tentatively scheduled to be out in March.
Engelbert Humperdinck will perform in Three Stages at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. Tickets are $49 to $89. Premium tickets are available for $99. Purchase tickets online at threestages.net or from Three Stages Ticket Office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Three Stages is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.