I remember blabbing with Englebert Humperdinck some years ago when he was riding yet another wave of popularity after recording the song Lesbian Seagull for MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head movie. "They liked that I had a sense of humour," explained Humperdinck who - if time and weather permit - still likes to ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle from concert to concert. "They asked me to sing a serious ballad and I listened to the song and it was quite beautiful. So if it [homosexuality] can happen in humans, it can happen to birds. And I support that. We should all have freedom of life."
Swinging London may have thought Engelbert was uncool but he had the last laugh: Humperdinck has gone on to sell over 130 million albums, but only after he changed his name. As he tells it, in his early days both Humperdinck and Tom Jones were managed by Engel’s childhood friend Gordon Mills.
"Gordon recorded Stay, a song I wrote, and took it to Decca under the name of Gerry Dorsey and Decca said, ‘He’s old hat – he’ll never make it.’ I was just in my early 20s. We changed the name and they signed me immediately. That’s what a name is all about."
Humperdinck also recalls Jimi Hendrix being blown away by Humperdinck and his Harleys. "They were introducing Jimi to Europe and had him open the first half of the show. It was quite an experience, no pun intended. One day my guitarist didn’t show and Jimi said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll play for you.’ He played from backstage and sounded like three guitars."