The BBC announced yesterday that Englebert Humperdinck will represent the UK at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The move, if you were wondering, as I imagine you were, is apparently a tactical one. Humperdinck seemingly remains very popular in a number of key voting nations. Although it’s possible they said that about Blue last year as well.
Born Arnold Dorsey, Humperdinck got his unusual moniker in 1965 when his manager, Gordon Mills, decided that his original stage name, Gerry Dorsey, wasn’t exciting enough. Mills co-opted the name of a nineteenth century German opera composer and Humperdinck never looked back. Between 1967 and 1969 he release five top ten albums, and has hit the top ten several times since with greatest hits compilations – the last in 2004 with ‘Greatest Love Songs’, which went to number four. He’s best known for his 1967 version of ‘Release Me’, which went to number one in the UK and top ten in various countries around the world, including the US.
His Eurovision entry is being written by Martin Terefe and Sacha Skarbek, who between then have worked with the likes of Mary J Blige, Adele, Lana Del Rey and James Blunt.
Katie Taylor, BBC Head of Entertainment And Events said of the decision to make Humperdinck this year’s Eurovision entrant: “Not since the 1970s have we had such an established international musical legend represent the nation. We couldn’t be more delighted. Engelbert’s experience leaves us in no doubt that he will be able to deliver a standout performance in front of 120 million viewers worldwide”.
Humperdinck added: “It’s an absolute honour to be representing my country for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. When the BBC approached me, it just felt right for me to be a part of an institution like Eurovision. I’m excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!”
The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan on 26 May. While we wait to hear Englebert Humperdinck’s entry, let’s relive one of his finest moments: