A Singer By Any Other Name

Arnold George Dorsey is more generally known by his internationally-recognized moniker: Engelbert Humperdinck. But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, a singer by any other name would sing as sweet.

Humperdinck, who will be performing in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center on March 19th, was not Dorsey’s first name change. His initial name change was to his first name. The Leicester, England lad had taken up playing the saxophone and was challenged by friends to put his instrument aside and sing in a pub contest. He ended up doing such a successful impression of another recent Smith Center performer – Jerry Lewis – that he was immediately labeled as Gerry Dorsey.

Now, that’s fine as names go, but while touring in England, Dorsey had to contend with a serious bout of tuberculosis and was off the stage for six months. When he recovered, it was time for a new image to showcase his health and vitality, so it was time for the next (and final) name change. His manager suggested Engelbert Humperdinck, from the 19th century Austrian composer who wrote "Hansel & Gretel." Not a common name, but one that would grow in popularity as the singer rose to global fame.

That fame endures as Humperdinck’s hits endure, including “(Please) Release Me,” “After The Lovin',” “Spanish Eyes,” “The Last Waltz,” “Am I That Easy To Forget,” “There Goes My Everything,” “Les Bicyclettes de Belsize,” “Winter World Of Love,” “This Moment In Time,” “Can't Take My Eyes Off You” and “Quando, Quando, Quando.”

It’s a funny thing about names. Famous singers are sometimes known by their first names - Madonna, Dion, Cher - but this performer proves that talent is the key to success, whether the name is Arnold George Dorsey, Gerry Dorsey, or Engelbert Humperdink.

Engelbert Humperdinck performs March 19th in Reynolds Hall. Click here to purchase tickets or call 702.749.2000.

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