quando’, he’ll finally be here!
By Ranjit Vethakan
There aren't many in show business who can proudly
boast of the deep respect and popularity Engelbert Humperdinck enjoys
worldwide. He last topped the charts with 'After The Loving' way
back in 1976. But nothing has stalled the undisputed King of Romance
from travelling the world and performing sell-out concerts. With
about 11 million paid-up members, his fan club is the biggest in
record speaks for itself: more than 150 million records sold worldwide
including 64 gold and 23 platinum, four Grammy nominations, a Golden
Globe and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And now, it's Colombo's
turn to savour this extraordinary phenomenon!
Engelbert is finally making it to town, with his 10-piece band and
two back-up singers. His one-off concert, presented by International
Creative Management - a powerhouse in the industry - and heavyweight
London-based promoter, Colin Davie will be on June 11 at Water's
has had its share of superstars visiting our shores in recent years
from Shaggy to Bryan Adams, the bands Air Supply and Michael Learns
to Rock and Bollywood's biggest heart-throb Shahrukh Khan. So how
will the 69-year-old star dazzle audiences?
titillating two-hour song and dance routine - a typical Las Vegas-styled
show - is brilliantly choreographed and delivered to smooth perfection,
despite him being a little restrained by a back ailment he's carried
for quite awhile.
there's no hint of that unique voice showing any loss of quality
or timbre, as he artfully works his way through the hits that have
made him a household name across this world. Engelbert also loves
putting his own touch to contemporary hits from the likes of Robbie
Williams, Bryan Adams and Celine Dion, to name a few.
latest month-long Asian tour takes in three concerts in India (New
Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore), two each in Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai,
and one in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Hong Kong, Tokyo
and, of course, Colombo.
Arnold George Dorsey in Chennai/Madras, Enge, as he is affectionately
known among his millions of fans, didn't envision earning a living
as a singer. "I've always enjoyed singing, like all of us,
but to be considered among names like (Nat) King Cole, (Frank) Sinatra,
Perry Como and the likes is a totally different situation . . .
far beyond comprehension,'' I remember him telling me before he
hit the stage at Sydney's Star City casino, just before Christmas
last year. With science and engineering his focus of attention,
the young man and his saxophone were also inseparable. And, it was
his sax thattook him to the various clubs and pubs spread across
Northern England until a bout of tuberculosis changed his life forever.
then tried out his vocal cords and met with moderate success until
he ran into an astute agent, named Gordon Mills. Mills, who also
happened to have the relatively unknown Tom Jones and Gilbert O'
Sullivan in his stable, suggested a name-change; the outrageously
long name of Engelbert Humperdinck, A German composer, known for
his opera Hansel & Gretel.
it was who also egged Engelbert to have a go at an old, forgotten
country song from the '50s. The rest, as they say, is history. Few
of his fans are aware that within a week of its release, Release
Me knocked the Beatles' Penny Lane from the top of the charts in
not many are also aware that it was Engelbert and not Presley, who
made the leather jumpsuit a fashionable item on stage."He stole
my costume!" complained Engelbert jokingly at the time; the
two often sang one another's songs and enjoyed a very close friendship
until Presley's untimely demise in August 1977.
prolific traveller, he fits in more than 130 concerts around the
world each year. This weekend fans in the Canadian cities of Montreal
and Ontario will see him in three concerts.
constantly changes his show to suit the audiences, often bringing
in songs from a variety of genres. It's far too early to know his
repertoire for the night of June 11 but, he never fails to include
his signature tune with his other major hits strung into a tight,
but lively and memorable medley.
highlight of an Engelbert performance is his impersonations of some
of his peers_ his long-time friend Tom Jones, along with some amore
for Julio Iglesias and Dean Martin. Jerry Lee Lewis, too, gets a
dose of the Engelbert magic, depending on the night, with the piano
man on record as having said that Engelbert's mimics are the best
he's ever seen.Under the guidance of his eldest son, Scott, who
also doubled up as his manager until a few weeks ago, Engelbert
has also ventured into the worlds of country, disco and latin and
album Vie Dance Album, released by the red-hot dance label Interhit
Records, featured newly recorded dance versions of six of his greatest
hits, along with five original songs. Favourites such as Quando,
Quando, Quando and Release Me were set to an infectious dance beat
and enjoyed tremendous success, with Release Me hitting the Top
Ten in the Billboard Dance charts! Engelbert who dominated the airwaves
of Sri Lanka's only radio station, in the late '60s, '70s and '80s,
isn't put off by the lack of chart success over the past 30 years.
take a great delight in putting together a few of my favourite songs
on an album. I then put it out on the market and what happens thereafter
is anyone's guess. No artiste has ever had any control of what happens
after the release of an album," he confided, as we enjoyed
a cuppa that day in Sydney.
it works, it's fine, and if it doesn't, you just move on to the
next project!. But I've been a very lucky man, and this opportunity
to travel the world as regularly as I do, is still a dream for me,”
he said. According to Ms Tina Hirsh, chief executive at Humperdinck
headquarters, Engelbert's 38-year career has taken him to more than
60 countries, and now it's Colombo's turn.
evening with Engelbert Humperdinck is simply an enchanting experience.
I know it, because I've been there!