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'Call me Enge (rhymes with Penge) '
22 Августа 2015
  • Harriet Lane
    The Observer, 
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Enge's Birds Of Paradise Engelbert Humperdinck Has Had Two Hit Songs In 25 Years, But These Die-hard Fans Still Flock To His Concerts And Help Feather His Nest
22 Августа 2015
March 17, 1991|By Sarah Tippit of The Sentinel Staff

For days they had prepared for the flight of the Engel.

Now in just minutes, he would descend from the airbrushed skies over Orlando International Airport and appear to them. At dusk, they'd make the pilgrimage to Tupperware Auditorium in Kissimmee, where, he'd appear, shining like a diamond pinky ring against black velveteen. And, bathed in a splay of disco-ball light, he'd sing the mantras they'd come to know so well:

Love, baby.

Love is the reason.

His faithful flock would listen. And it would be good; they would tell him so.

They're his birds. He's their paradise. They're Enge's Birds of Paradise, a flock of 80 brightly plumed women from Florida who would fly anywhere in the world to catch a glimpse of their favorite pop star, Engelbert Humperdinck, whether it's at a concert, or as he's backing out of his Hollywood driveway.

From afar, they have loved The Hump since the days of his last American hits, ''Release Me'' (1967) and ''After the Lovin' '' (1976). They stuck by him when he dyed his hair blond during the ''70s. They watched all his Love Boat and Fantasy Island reruns. They spent thousands of dollars annually following his concert tours through Europe, Las Vegas, Detroit, Boise, Id. -wherever he happened to hang his heart.

And they are not alone. More than 250 groups devoted to the tanned, white-toothed balladeer exist worldwide, including such formidable sister clubs as Engel's Love Sparks of Long Island, N.Y.; the Happy Humpers of Beltsville, Md.; Enge's Baltimore Belles; Enge's Badgerettes of Madison, Wis.; Engelbert's Goils of Cleveland; and the Pacifica Sweethearts of San Bruno, Calif., to name a few. The clubs have formed an informal network through waiting in line outside backstage doors together, hawking concert tickets, passing around garments they claim still smell of his cologne, meeting in hotel restaurants for breakfast.

But when it comes to decorating Engelbert's dressing room, clubs compete for the honor, often writing his headquarters for permission weeks, even months, in advance. He never quite knows what he'll find. Southern clubs, for instance, leave Georgia peanuts, Virginia hams and sometimes even Confederate memorabilia next to his clothes rack. Others donate their handicrafts and needlework.

Florida's Birds of Paradise lean toward the romantic, leaving behind their namesake flowers and hand-written love notes. They also spend hundreds of dollars to create fantasy-oriented themes, such as the time they transformed his Clearwater dressing room into a mock massage parlor. But since Engelbert's most recent trip to Florida fell in early February, Valentine's Day decor seemed apropos.

The Birds beat all other clubs to the task.

This explains why a white-hot sports car was seen one recent Thursday just before noon patching into an empty parking lot at Tupperware.

Sharon Sambrook, 39, and Irene Dolgner, 38, the brains behind the Birds operation, had less than an hour to decorate before speeding to watch Engelbert deplane. Tilting sideways from the weight of their shopping bags, they headed for the backstage door.

''We're just going Boing-Boing-Boing,'' Sharon said, making a noise a cartoon character might make when falling on its head.

Irene walked behind Sharon, in black spandex pants and a teal blue T-shirt emblazoned with the fan club's brightly colored logo. Their friend, Carol Bosh, 36, marched behind. All three women wore sunglasses and matching shirts.

Last came Faye Holton, 52, toting a basket of gifts, snacks and a bottle of Asti Spumanti.

The sudden interruption caused several stagehands, who were testing a sound system, to look up from their work.

''It's like old home week. Everybody around here knows us,'' Sharon said. ''Hi, guys. Don't mind us.''

Once inside, the birds fell silent as their nesting instincts took over. They taped balloons to walls, vents, ceilings and sprinklers; they arranged toys, cards and gifts in decorative tableaus. After scanning the room, Faye stuck a ''Paradise is . . . Engelbert'' bumper sticker on the dressing room door.

''We used to have bumper stickers that said, ''Honk if you love Engelbert,' and we'd put them across the john,'' she said, attaching a balloon to a clothing hook on the bathroom door. ''Now that's artistic, isn't it?''

''And this is for the boys in Saudi Arabia,'' she said, tying a broad yellow ribbon into a big bow and taping it to a wall.

Irene discreetly pulled a small gift-wrapped package out of a shopping bag, placing it in the corner of Engelbert's dressing table. Inside was a red satin G-string. Next, she stuffed a ''frisky coupon'' booklet, the kind you might buy in a novelty shop, into a teddy bear's boxer shorts.

''Let me see those,'' said Carol, grabbing the booklet. '' ''I'll hide and you seek,' '' she reads. '' ''I'll chase you and you chase me.' I don't know how he can't be spoiled to death with all this.''

After they hung crepe paper streamers about the ceiling, the room looked like a Valentine jungle.

''Oh no, that thing is lopsided,'' Irene noted tensely. A large tissue-paper heart was not hanging straight down from a ceiling sprinkler.

'Engelbert will notice that,'' said Faye, standing on the tips of her pink-painted toes to straighten and bolster the decoration.

Carol and Irene were busy leaving lipstick kisses on the mirror. ''Ooooooh, ugly. Where's the Windex? Let's clean these up, girls. We wouldn't want him to think we had greasy noses or chins,'' Carol said.

''Or runny noses,'' noted Faye.

It's true, Faye, who lives in Rosemont (she moved there from Georgia where she raised two children), would never appear at an Engelbert concert with a runny nose, or for that matter, anything out of place.

Still, she wonders why Engelbert called her, ''Flawless Faye'' one night three years ago when he watched her wander into his dressing room.

''I'm real proud,'' Faye said. ''I don't know why he calls me that, but I take it as a compliment.''

It took nearly 10 years of being a die-hard fan and a lot of front-row concert tickets before Faye got familiar enough with Engelbert to hold that kind of friendly conversation with him. She remembers the first time she saw him. It was her 40th birthday and she and her now ex-husband were in Las Vegas for a national fertilizer convention.

''He got sick and said he wanted to fly back home, so I said fine, and I had to run the booth by myself,'' Faye said. But determined to have a good time anyway, she went to an Engelbert concert with a group of friends.

Aside from his perpetually steamy eyes and gold chains about the neck, one of Engelbert's trademark maneuvers is to bring a woman from the audience on stage and guide her hand inside his shirt. He does this while singing songs like The Wanderer and Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch. Then he kisses her and ties a flaming red scarf around her neck. Because it was Faye's birthday that night, her friends enthusiastically pointed her out as Engelbert scanned the audience. And, in the style of the Let's Make a Deal TV show, he told her to come on down.

''He kissed me,'' she said. ''And he asked me if I was married, and I said, ''I was . . . once,' I've followed him ever since,'' she said.

''The man can kiss, depending on the reaction he gets from the girl,'' said Sharon, who carries a wallet in her purse that holds about 20 Engelbert photographs. She has photos of Engelbert in a sparkly Elvis-style shirt kissing her on her birthday in Reno, Nev.; posing with her and Irene at airports in Cleveland, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Milwaukee; backing his white Rolls Royce out of the driveway of his Beverly Hills home.

Wearing a baseball cap and a day's worth of razor stubble, his hand is raised in front of his face in that particular picture as if to say, ''Get back!''

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''That's pretty much what he was saying,'' Sharon said. ''We were in his way, and his daughter Louise was in the car trying to talk to him. And he couldn't hear what she was saying, but Irene kept running after him anyway. Afterwards, Louise got out of the car, and we got a picture of her, too. She's such a sweet girl.''


But it took Sharon several years to become what she calls a die-hard fan. The moment occurred seven years ago in Lake Tahoe. She was standing outside the stage door in freezing cold weather with several other fans, and, ''He touched me,'' she said. ''He put his hands on my back.'' After that, she considered it a challenge to get to know him. Before that, ''I hadn't thought it possible.''

He has a powerful effect on women, said Irene, who also keeps an ''Engelbert wallet,'' as well as copies of the same photographs in her office at the Port of Sanford where she works as an administrative aide.

''He puts you in your own fantasy world, because he's the King of Romance, and then he brings you slowly down,'' she said.

Irene had listened to his music for years and had once even ordered a two-record set from K-Tel. But it wasn't until her wedding eight years ago at the Chapel of Love in Las Vegas that she got hooked. That night, she and her groom went to an Engelbert concert. Coincidentally, he sang ''The Hawaiian Wedding Song,'' made famous by former Las Vegas compatriot, Elvis Presley, she said. ''I squeezed my husband's hand and said, ''Honey, he's playing this just for us,' ''

It was the second marriage for both Irene and her husband, Dennis, who easily accepted her obsession. ''He has his golf and I have my Engelbert,'' she said.

''I DON'T KNOW HOW IT ALL happened, how I got such a volume of loyal subjects,'' said Engelbert during a telephone interview in-between concert appearances.

''If you haven't got it, you can't make it. If you try, it becomes false.

''They're loyal and militant in their defense of me, actually. They make a love chain. Wherever I go, they're there to greet me.''

It's both a blessing and a curse, he said. ''When you're a superstar and you're known all over the world, you don't always get to do the things you want to do.

''These people have grown up with me over the last 20 years and they've stayed. I don't think many performers are left that have these things happen in their lives.''

n 1986 when another Florida fan club was disbanding, Sharon and Irene decided to keep it alive. That's when they chose their name and logo: the bird-of-paradise, a tenacious flower indigenous to tropical climes. Irene does correspondence and administrative work, and Sharon, a travel agent, gleans information about the singer's itinerary and makes travel arrangements for herself, Irene, Faye and several other fans. The Birds, who have seen hundreds of concerts, estimate they spend about $4,000 apiece on six to 10 Engelbert weekends a year.

Having responsibility for the fan club means that when it's an Engelbert weekend, there are gifts, decorations, film, cassette-tapes and batteries to buy; outfits to lay out; club members to be informed of concert particulars. And they must also remain alert in order to glean hard-to-get information like his itinerary, so they can follow him to and from airports and hotels. All this can be quite nerve-wracking.

That's why, over the next two days that Engelbert was in Central Florida, Irene and Sharon ate little and didn't go to work.

By 11 a.m. Saturday, their suitcases were packed, and they were heading down the highway toward Sarasota for an 8 p.m. concert. It was their last chance to catch A Man and His Music in the United States before the tour headed for Germany, and the Birds had canceled flight plans overseas because of the threat of terrorism.

Listening to his music, seeing him on television and reading about him in the newspaper have given the Birds insight into his personality. For one thing, he's a real family man; and people who know him call him Enge (pronounced Enj), Irene said.

''Enge and Joan (Rivers) get along well together, they like each other,'' said Irene.

''He's learning German now,'' added Sharon. ''That's because he really cares about being able to communicate with his audiences.''

Engelbert, a 54-year-old Brit whose real name is Arnold Dorsey, is co-writing a book on stress management with Dr. Anthony Reading, director of stress management at UCLA.

''He can do anything he puts his mind to,'' Irene said.

''He's accepting his age now, but for a long time, he didn't,'' she added.

''I liked it when Joan asked him if women throw their panties on stage at his concerts,'' Irene said.

''No, that's Tom Jones' concerts,'' Faye said. ''Engelbert is classier than that.''

''Women at Engelbert concerts throw things like flowers and keys to their hotel rooms,'' she said.

''Enge wears a G-string,'' Sharon said. ''He wears one to make sure he doesn't have panty-lines.'' They all giggled.

''I know because twice I saw him split his pants on-stage and I was right in the front row.

''It was a concert in Boise, Idaho,'' she continued. ''Enge was doing an imitation of Sammy Davis Jr. tap dancing, and when he bent down, they ripped open! You should have seen his face. But he was a professional about it. He turned around and showed the audience, then he walked off stage to change.''

By 2:57 p.m., they were still on the road. The car stereo was playing selections from some of the dozen tapes Irene kept in her car.

''Tell me quando, quando, quando . . . please don't make me wait again . . . I can't wait a moment longer . . . oh my lover, tell me when''

''Where are we?'' said Irene, who was driving.

''That's been the story of our life all day,'' said Sharon.

''No, I mean on the tape,'' Irene said, cruising into Florida State Fair traffic. Engelbert's low, soothing voice switched to a musical version of the Lord's Prayer.

''The same damn thing happens every time,'' Faye said.

''Watch that traffic, I can't see past your hair,'' Irene snapped.

''LET'S LISTEN TO SOME BE-BOP,'' Faye said, popping in a song about a couple standing in the rain.

Here we are, getting soaking wet, I want to feel your love before the night gets older . . . Don't know what is happenin'. Can't believe it's true. Don't you feel the pressure getting higher, higher . . .

Sharon put her head back against the seat and closed her eyes. Irene was cruising at about 80 mph.

''There's a lot you can do with Engelbert's music,'' Irene said. ''You can clean your house. He's the calm and his fans are the craziness.''

''He's the eye of the storm,'' Faye said. ''I just like the way he wears his watch. And the way he rolls his L's when he says, ''Love.' ''

Suddenly, Irene realized she had passed the Sarasota exit and was heading toward Venice.

''Well, you always wanted to go to Venice,'' said Faye.

''Just get off the off ramp slow,'' Sharon said.

You are my life . . . When I'm lost you are the light . . .

The Birds pulled into a Texaco station at U.S. Highway 41 and Bispham Road. Faye returned after politely asking a woman in a nearby car for directions.

''She was so nice and I was trying to pay attention.''

Tonight I watch the people stand and stare . . . You're a sight to see . . .

By 4 p.m., the Birds were heading into downtown Sarasota, toward the Van Wezel auditorium.

Jesus is his name, the star of Bethlehem . . .

After another dressing room decorating ritual, the Birds headed across the street to a Hyatt hotel, where they had booked a room just to use for a few hours to freshen up. After dumping their suitcases in their room, they headed to the bar for a drink.

Sharon ordered a bay breeze. Faye, a vodka tonic. Irene, a white zinfandel. Soon, Sharon was getting tipsy and talking high-pitched and shrill.

''It's nearly 6 p.m.! Drink up! He's going to be coming in!'' she said, causing heads in the bar to turn.

The Birds fluttered back outside to Irene's car and sped over to the theater's back parking lot.

''Breath mints! Breath mints!'' Sharon shouted.

''The limo's coming!''

''Does anybody have a gag?'' Irene said.

''Here he comes!'' Sharon said, as they leaped from the car and ran after the gray limo that had wound its way toward the backstage door.

Engelbert climbed out, in black jeans, a double breasted jacket. He was a matinee idol in technicolor, with statue-of-David cheekbones and cappuccino skin. Several other women who had been waiting in another area of the lot approached. A hush fell over the swooning crowd.

A large woman in a pink polyester skirt ensemble stepped boldly forward. Her friend, a thin woman in black, with sunken cheeks, platinum, short-cropped hair and aqua eye shadow spoke first.

''Enge!'' said the woman in a low, raspy voice.

''Hi, baby, good to see you,'' he said, giving her a hug.

He turned to look at another woman.

''We've been following you since Tupperware,'' she said.

His eyes focused on her chest for a moment, then on her eyes.

''I hear Tupperware is making a new bra,'' he said. ''Doesn't do much for your figure but it sure keeps things fresh.''

The women giggle.

''Where's my phone?'' he said, bending toward the limo's interior to reach for a portable phone.

''See you all later,'' he said over his shoulder, heading inside.

''Isn't he gorgeous?'' Flawless Faye said, barely able to contain her enthusiasm.

The Birds headed back to the hotel, where they unpacked makeup, electric curlers and dress-up clothes; showered; and ordered room service.

Saw you on the cover of a fashion magazine. Couldn't believe just what my eyes had seen. You're the one I've been looking for, the greatest girl I ever saw, sitting on the cover of a fashion magazine 

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By 7:47 p.m., they were ready. Sharon wore a floral-print, low-cut dress with dark stockings. Irene wore lavender tie-dyed leggings and a faux-jewel-encrusted top, with metallic spike heels. Faye donned a black satin evening gown, with jacket embroidered with gold thread. They crammed into a crowded elevator, filling the small cubicle with a mingling of perfumes.

Just before checking out of the hotel, Sharon swallowed two Bufferins. ''I have no contacts, I forgot my shoulder pads,'' she said. ''But then, I'm not trying to impress anybody.''

''Well, what you see is what you get, honey,'' Faye said. ''I should have put on more hair spray. It's not stiff enough.''

Just outside the Van Wezel theater, Faye reached inside her black satin purse to feel around for an old airline ticket Enge had autographed last October. She also carried a folder containing several 8-by-10 glossies of him. The airline ticket was an unsightly thing to show people. She was planning to have him sign a photograph.

''Whoa! Look at those legs,'' one elderly man said as Irene walked up some steps into the theater. The sell-out audience was filled with many senior citizens, a number of whom spend their winters along the Gulf.

''They call it the blue-haired crowd,'' one of Engelbert's assistants said backstage before the concert. ''He has a much younger audience in Europe.''

The Birds took seats in the front row, center. They were surrounded by other fans from other clubs. Some were carrying roses to give to Engelbert after his performance.

Jokes during an opening act by comedian Dick Capri were targeted at an older crowd. ''Forget about an IUD,'' he was saying. ''How about CPR or you'll wind up DOA. Especially if you're AARP.''

But the Birds couldn't concentrate. ''I can smell Engelbert's cologne,'' Sharon whispered.

By 9:10 p.m., the comedian was winding up his act, and a smoke machine began fogging up the stage. Red and blue lights came on, and a mirrored disco-ball suspended over the stage began slowly rotating.

''This is it! This is it!'' Irene whispered.

Three women in black mini-dresses began singing an overture and doing a cha cha. ''Step into my liiiiiiiife,'' they sang.

Then they broke into a rap beat, chanting, ''Engelbert's the man on the move. He's got the girls, he's got the groove.''

Suddenly, he was onstage, in a black tuxedo, and the Birds were on their feet, clapping. ''You like my jacket?'' he said, sliding into a mock model's runway walk across the stage, accompanied by stripper music.

Sensuously, he removed his bow tie and unbuttoned his shirt. The predominantly female audience applauded.

He sang a few songs, yodeled and launched into impressions of such stars as Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Clark Gable (''Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a sh-''). Then, Enge, who has been studying acting with a private coach from the Stella Adler studio in New York City, began telling jokes.

'Does anybody have a plastic lighter?'' he asked the audience.

Flawless Faye, who had seen this part of the act before, had bought a lighter just for the occasion. It had a fake $100 bill wrapped around it. She quietly stood and handed it to him.

''Could we turn the lights out?'' Engelbert shouted, placing the lighter about 10 inches below his belly button.

''I am the Devil,'' he said in a low, menacing voice. ''GOING TO THE BATHROOM!'' With that, he flicked the Bic furiously. The audience roared with applause as sparks flew into the darkness.

Still, Engelbert seemed disappointed that the audience wasn't laughing as much as they usually do during other concerts.

''He's not happy,'' Irene whispered in a choked voice.

Just then, Engelbert seemed to be focusing on her.

''You're not laughing,'' he was saying with a smile. ''Maybe that's because you've seen the show too many times. Maybe you shouldn't see so many shows!''

It was meant as a joke. The audience knew that. He was chuckling as he launched into a rendition of his 1967 hit, ''Release Me.'' But Irene's mind was stuck on the comment, and she didn't think it was funny.

She and the other Birds were highly upset, although they did their best not to show it. Throughout the rest of the show, they whistled and clapped as loudly as possible after his songs.

When he sang, Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch and let a large, blonde woman touch his derriere, they laughed as he said in mock surprise, ''She's grabbing humpy's bumpy!''

They applauded when he stopped the show to announce two films he shot recently, one in Orlando, called Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady, co-starring Morgan Fairchild.

They clapped when he plugged his new album, Love is the Reason, the first he has released in the United States in more than a decade.

They rose to their feet as he ended his show with a rousing version of America the Beautiful.

But Irene was depressed by show's end.

''I know him. He was upset. We let him down. We didn't clap enough,'' she said on the way to the car.

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''Well, Irene, he must consider us part of the band,'' Sharon said. ''That's what happens when you're part of the band. You get yelled at like everyone else. Now we know how they feel.''

Surely Engelbert couldn't be that upset. The show had been sold out.

''Sales are not the thing,'' Irene said. ''It's the audience reaction that he looks for.''

''Now I don't know if we should follow his limo back to Orlando.''

''What the heck,'' said Sharon, as the birds climbed into the car. ''He's leaving tomorrow. Let him yell.''

But as they drove toward the backstage door, they noticed that the limo was gone. ''He left while the music was still playing so he could beat all the traffic,'' a security guard said.

''See? He's mad,'' Irene said. ''I'll catch up with him.''

''He's long gone,'' Sharon said. ''We'll catch up with him tomorrow morning on the way to the airport.''

''I didn't get him to sign anything,'' said Faye.

''We just clapped too early, was all. We just clapped too early before he could get his jokes out.''

''Don't commit suicide just because he's not happy with the show,'' Irene said.

''Who does he think he is, anyway?''

''Well, I told (a stagehand) that we didn't know whether we'd be at his hotel to see him off tomorrow or not,'' Sharon said.

''I don't know if I want to hear the jerk.''

Irene played a cassette recording she had just made of the concert. Several times, she rewound the tape to the part where the Birds believed he may have chastised them.

They listened intently, trying to analyze what had gone wrong.

''We were supposed to be out there getting people all excited. We're his fans. That's our function,'' Irene concluded.

''I'm not going to the airport tomorrow,'' Sharon said.

''You're the band. You have to go,'' Irene said.

''I'm not being paid. I'm a volunteer. He should remember that,'' Sharon said.

''Girls, remember I said earlier that he's the eye of the storm,'' Faye said.

''Or the cause of the storm, one or the other,'' said Irene.

At 12:20 a.m. Sunday, the Birds thought it best to remove Engelbert's tape and play the radio for a while.

She's out of my life, crooned Michael Jackson. She's ooooout of my life. And I don't know whether to laugh or cry, I don't know whether to live or die . . . and it cuts like a knife . . . she's out of my life.

By 2:30 a.m., the Birds were checking into the Sheraton at the Florida Mall, where Engelbert was spending his last night in Florida in a luxury suite. Although they all live nearby, they had wanted to get an early start in the morning.

The next day, they were able to corner him in the hallway as he headed, with his entourage, to the limo that would take him to the airport.

''We apologized for disappointing him,'' Irene later said. ''He changed his attitude and was signing autographs. It was just like old times.''

''He relies on us. That's what fans are for.''

They're ''Enge's Birds of Paradise,'' a flock of 80 well-coiffed middle-aged women who'll fly anywhere in the world to catch a glimpse of pop music star Engelbert Humperdinck.

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Wherever the tanned, white-toothed crooner holds a concert - whether it's in Europe, Detroit, Las Vegas, Hawaii, or Merrillville, Ind. - members of the Seminole County-based fan club show up for his romantic songs or maybe a handshake. Possibly a hug or a kiss.

Or a peek at the man's dressing room.

''We show up before concerts and decorate his dressing room for him. He likes that,'' said club president Sharon Sambrook, 38.

''We decorate it in different themes,'' club vice president Irene Dolgner said.

''Last January when he came to Clearwater we decorated in a massage parlor theme'' complete with massage oils, mineral water and towels.

And Dolgner has snapshots to prove it.

The office at the Port of Sanford where she works as an administrative aide is a museum of memorabilia and photos of the 54-year-old singer, who gets annoyed when people mistake him for internationally known singers Julio Iglesias and Tom Jones.

''He is known as the King of Romance,'' said the 38-year-old Dolgner, who has been following his music since 1977, when he last hit the pop charts with ''After the Loving.''

''He's probably got the most beautiful voice in the world. I always liked his music. But after I saw my first show, I just went, 'Ahhhh,' '' she sighed.

Several other frames hold shots of Humperdinck at various airports, posed with his arms around Dolgner and Sambrook, who came up with the idea to begin Florida's official fan club in 1986 to promote Humperdinck's romantic music.

''Another Florida club was disbanding at the same time, so we kind of took over their members,'' Dolgner said.

Over the years, they have watched him change. Humperdinck went from brunet in the '60s, to blond in the '70s, when he often appeared on such shows as Fantasy Island and Love Boat.

Now he's back to the dark look he sported in 1967 when he had his first hit single, ''Release Me.''

The colors may have changed, but his style - which has captured the hearts of women in more than 250 clubs worldwide - remains constant: the dark, steamy expression, his shirts often unbuttoned to mid-chest, an occasional gold chain around his neck.

Dolgner and Sambrook, a Longwood travel agent, monitor the singer's itinerary by reading newspapers and a newsletter provided by his management office.

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The man's mystique is all part of his appeal, Sambrook said.

''He's just naturally sexy. None of it's put on. That's why we all love him so much.''

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Humperdinck Tries Handat Songwriting, Acting MUSIC
22 Августа 2015
February 1, 1991|By Jim Abbott of The Sentinel Staff

After singing other people's songs for almost 25 years, Engelbert Humperdinck wanted to express his own emotions on his new Love Is the Reason LP.

So Humperdinck - best known for such ballads as ''After the Lovin' '' and ''Release Me'' - took a shot at writing his own material, eventually coming up with four songs for Love Is the Reason.

Songwriting is, quite literally, a dream come true for him.

''I write my music from dreams if you want to know the truth,'' Humperdinck said by phone between tour rehearsals. ''I get the title and I put a tape recorder by my bedside and I look at the title very heavily before I go to bed.

''During the night, I dream of the melody; then I get up and put it on tape. The next day I go down and write it. Most things come out of a dream, you know - sometimes you get tremendous, tremendous ideas.''

In addition to the album's upbeat title track, Humperdinck's ideas produced three romantic ballads: ''Step Into My Life,'' ''I Just Want Somebody to Love'' and ''I Get Lonely.''

Humperdinck (who will perform Thursday in Kissimmee and next Friday in Daytona Beach) is hoping that his subliminal methods will yield more 
concreteОписание: https://proxy.imgsmail.ru/?h=1KXwMHNHml4ga0rzVIxjzQ&e=1408111540&url171=aW1hZ2VzLmludGVsbGl0eHQuY29tL2FzdC9hZFR5cGVzL2ljb24xLnBuZw~~ results - hit records.

If that doesn't happen, it's not because of a lack of effort. Humperdinck spent nearly two years working on the LP before its release in January.

''To bring it up to where I wanted it, we spent a great deal of time,'' he said. ''I haven't released in America for some time and releasing now had to be right. If it wasn't, then there was no point in releasing it because it would just go by the wayside.''

While working on the album, Humperdinck, 53, tried to keep up with current trends and incorporate them into his music.

''I listen to MTV and I try to keep up with the times. That's how I write my music - I stay with it. You can learn from anybody and everybody, and I think that's one of the reasons that my music is so contemporary - because of my paying attention.''

Although he hasn't recorded very often, Humperdinck tours constantly - doing some 200 shows a year. It's a hectic schedule, but he says he thrives on the activity.

''I've been doing it for so long, it's really a part of me now. . . . It (the show) stays fresh because you've got a fresh audience all the time. There are times when you feel, 'I wish I had another hit to sing,' but I'm hoping that this album is going to provide that.''

Born Arnold George Dorsey, Humperdinck rose to fame in the late '60s along with Welsh heartthrob Tom Jones. The two shared the same manager, and both managed to ride the coattails of the British invasion into America.

''We did very well considering we had all that competition with the Beatles around,'' Humperdinck said.
''That's major competition. But it was great.

''Now I'm still around and feeling better than ever - because I've followed my career up and done other things rather than singing.''

An example is his recent foray into acting. Last year, Humperdinck worked with Morgan Fairchild on two projects, a TV miniseries, Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady, and his first feature film, Even Angels Fall. Both are set for release in the coming months.

Even Angels Fall was filmed during late November and early December at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando. It's a mystery about a romance novelist (Fairchild) who falls in love with an undercover cop (Humperdinck) investigating a suspicious death.

Humperdinck said that the transition into acting was an easy one and a pleasant change of pace from the concert trail.

''It's a different form of entertainment,'' he said. ''I enjoy it because I've been on stage all my life - I'm used to it. I think falling into acting is much easier for a person who has performed in front of live audiences. It's much, much easier than an actor transforming into a singer.

''Also, when you've been on the road for 24 years, your ears take a pounding with the loud sounds on stage. It's nice to get into the quiet for a while.''

And while TV-film acting doesn't offer the immediate feedback of live performance, the spare hours on the set gave Humperdinck time to concentrate on other interests.

''It's great because you get to do the things that you want to do while you're waiting around,'' he said. ''I'm writing and I'm doing other things - plus making a movie. Whereas, when you're on the road, you don't get that time to do other things.''

While he listens to today's music, Humperdinck isn't about to trade in his easygoing style for rock or rap.

''I first started off with sort of middle-of-the-road type of music - which I still think is the most popular music around - because it lasts forever. It becomes an evergreen.

''If you get a rock band doing a piece of music, it only lasts for the time that it's a hit. Then it's forgotten a year later or two years later. But, fortunately, music like mine stays around for a long time.''

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