UPDATE: The show has been canceled. If you have purchased tickets, refunds will be available through the point of your purchase.
If you have a name like Engelbert Humperdinck, it helps to have a sense of humor.
The veteran singer, who was born Arnold Dorsey and raised in India and England, didn’t change his name for laughs before music’s British Invasion. Appropriating the unusual moniker from the 19th century German composer who crafted the “Hansel and Gretel” opera, has earned notice and then some.
During an “All in the Family” episode back in the mid-70s, the iconic Archie Bunker, a malaprop master, called the singer “Engelbert What’s His Dink.”
“To hear Archie in all his Bunker bravado say that on prime time, well, I knew I’d made it,” Humperdinck, 82, said by phone from Clearwater, Fla. “Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin messed up my name too, much to the audience’s delight, and we are still talking and laughing about it.”
Yes, the romantic hits “Release Me” and “There Goes My Everything” are a huge part of Humperdinck’s appeal. But he also engages with his audiences. The Gazette is presenting him in concert Sunday (1/27) at the Paramount Theatre, and he said he’s still having a blast onstage more than a half century after making his debut.
“There is still that excitement for live music in a show that has been 52 years in the making,” he said.
It’s a much different world than when Humperdinck started out. Back then, the record industry was strong and love songs were ubiquitous. That’s not so today.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“I don’t know why love is hard to find on the charts,” Humperdinck said. “The Beatles philosophy carries to this generation, ‘All You Need is Love.’”
There’s lots of love in the tunes at Humperdinck’s shows. “After the Lovin,” “The Power of Love” and “Crazy” are just some of the love songs he’s delivered. He has so many choices when selecting from his deep canon.
“Making a set-list is so challenging,” he said. “People relate to different songs and some have been on this ‘Release Me’ road from the beginning, so there are, thankfully, a myriad melodies and memories to choose from for the show. The format stays somewhat the same in dynamics, because it is tried and tested worldwide, but I like to include unexpected gems that take the audience by surprise and take them back to another ‘Moment in Time.’ I also like to find great current love songs and do them my way and pay tribute to the talent of today.”
Humperdinck has been covering such contemporary tunes as Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” and Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.”
“I was introduced to Ed by my granddaughter Kiki, who kept singing ‘Thinking Out Loud’ to me until I recorded it and sang it onstage,” Humperdinck said. “Apparently Ed’s mum is a big fan and I was flattered to learn that he liked the rendition. I connected with his lyrics on a deeper level.”
When Mars was a kid, he showcased for Humperdinck.
“Having met him when he was just 5, it just made total sense that I should cover him and maybe some of that ‘24 Karat Magic’ (Mars’ album) would rub off on me. What a fantastic entertainer,” he exclaimed.
Damon Albarn of Gorillaz wanted to work with Humperdinck, but his management never let him know about the proposal.
“Missed opportunities by mismanagement is a huge pet peeve of mine,” Humperdinck said. “It wasn’t presented to me personally and it was a big lesson on being more hands-on with offers that come in.”
But Humperdinck is very busy.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!
You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.
“Basically, the suitcases stays by the front door,” he said. “The first four months (of 2019) have little time scheduled for the dry cleaners and resting in my easy chair. I’m testing out my new show and we start the national tour before heading to Australia and Southeast Asia. ...
“I have a lot going on and I like it that way,” he said. “I’ll be in the studio recording a phenomenal new song that sounds like it should be at the end of a Clint Eastwood movie. Now there’s a legend.”
WHAT: Engelbert Humperdinck
WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 6 p.m. Sunday (1/27)
TICKETS: $51.50 to $78.50, Paramount Ticket Office, (319) 366-8203 or Paramounttheatrecr.com
ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Engelbert.com