This thread is all about pop singer Engelbert Humperdinck and notable people and things associated with him. You might recall him from several mentions in my alternate/revised biography of Elvis. The emergence of Engelbert to prominence and superstardom sparks a hotly contested rivalry with the King of Rock and Roll.
Engelbert Humperdinck Quick Facts
Born: May 2, 1936 in Madras, India
Birth Name: Arnold George Dorsey
Country: United States
Origin: Los Angeles, California
Years Active: 1955-present
Principal Genre: Pop
Additional Genres: Traditional pop, vocal, easy listening, big band
Height: 6 ft., 1 1/2 in.
Short description: American singer
Engelbert Humperdinck is an American singer, known for his smooth traditional pop style, and is an icon known internationally as the “King of Romance”. Born in Madras, India, and raised in Madras and Leicester, England during his youth, Humperdinck moved to the United States as his permanent residence in 1955. Two years later, he became a naturalized US citizen, largely as a result of his sudden rise to superstardom in America.
When Engelbert made his breakthrough in 1957, he carried traditional pop (a genre associated with artists such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole) out of the slump it had fallen into since rock and roll emerged and became popular, and thus it experienced a sort of renaissance, known as the Traditional Pop Revival. Not only was traditional pop a fashionable genre once again, but Engelbert’s rise to superstardom sparked a rivalry with none other than Elvis Presley, the King of Rock. All this serves as a major landmark in the history of rock and roll, as iconic figures such as Elvis and Chuck Berry push to keep rock very much alive and in competition with traditional pop (by way of the Traditional Pop Revival) and other popular genres.
Engelbert was popular throughout the United States (with huge fan clubs in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, and of course his hometown Los Angeles), and soon after much of Europe (including England, his former home country). Engelbert Humperdinck received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1962, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, alongside Elvis Presley and several others.
A museum dedicated to the pop singer, and memorabilia associated with him, opened its doors in Los Angeles, California in July 1982. The opening of the Engelbert Humperdinck Museum was part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the release of the first single and album in which the former Arnold Dorsey was credited as “Engelbert Humperdinck”. The 25th anniversary celebration noted not only the name change, but also the singer’s rise to superstardom that followed the release of the single and album.
Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey on May 2, 1936 in Madras, India, one of the ten children born to Mervyn Dorsey, a British Army officer stationed there, and his wife Olive. In 1946, the year after World War II ended, the Dorseys left Madras and relocated to Leicester, England. During his nine years living in Leicester, Arnold Dorsey found an interest in popular music of the day and initially took up playing saxophone as an early teenager. By 1953, he quit playing his saxophone, gave it away, and began singing in local venues. While working at a typical job to support himself and his family from then until 1955, his regular hobby was as an amateur singer in Leicester. During this period, due particularly to his desire to pursue a career in music, Dorsey avoided conscription by filing under conscientious objection. As a side note, conscription was in effect in the UK at the time, and would remain so until 1960. The UK policy of conscription and Dorsey’s conscientious objection helped influence his decision to move to the United States in 1955. When performing at venues in Leicester, he primarily sang jazz and traditional pop standards.
While Joey Marcello and Dave Parry, two men of relative obscurity working in the music industry at Los Angeles’s Columbia Records division, were vacationing in England (visiting Parry’s extended family in London and Leicester) during mid-April 1955, they witnessed one of Dorsey’s gigs at a Leicester venue one night. The two men had intended on finding an amateur singer to observe, as they had had little or no luck finding talent that appealed to them from Los Angeles, London, and their surrounding areas. They wanted to create a counterrevolution to rock and roll, which was becoming increasingly popular in the United States. At that time, Marcello was working as a record producer and manager, and Parry worked alongside him in record producing. They began their search for Dorsey’s address the following day, and they obtained it the day after.
On April 24, 1955, the day after returning home to Los Angeles, Marcello wrote a typewritten letter in two paragraphs to Dorsey with Parry’s help. In the first paragraph of the letter, Marcello provided a description of who he was, and explained how he and Parry knew about Dorsey and how they came across witnessing his singing act at that Leicester venue that fateful night during their stay in England. Very positive comments about his vocal performance and talent were also mentioned. In the second paragraph, Marcello wrote his suggestion in a convincing manner that Dorsey relocate to Los Angeles, explaining why Dorsey would be better off and more successful in the United States than in England. In this paragraph, he also briefly praised the rich popular music culture America had had since jazz became popular in the 1920s, noting styles of American popular music and names of famous American popular singers and musicians; as well as the prosperous cinematic climate in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. Marcello concluded the second paragraph with an opportunity inviting Dorsey to audition at Columbia Records as soon as he could, if in the event he decided to move to Los Angeles. At the end of the letter was Marcello’s signature under the “Yours Truly” and his name in print. The letter was sent from Marcello’s home address, with his name and position as a producer at Columbia Records noted.
When Dorsey received the letter envelope-sealed in the mail, he was delighted to see from the information of the sender on the envelope that a producer at a major record label had written to him. After reading the actual letter, not only was he more excited, but was convinced that he should leave his native England in order to pursue his dream, and was anxious about coming to audition. Dorsey then wrote a letter back to Marcello, expressing in the letter his acceptance of Marcello’s advice and the opportunity the sender had offered him. He then obtained a passport and took his time after that to gather necessities and his personal possessions for the new life awaiting him before saying goodbye to his family, promising them he would be back for visits, and leaving for Los Angeles.
Dorsey arrived in Los Angeles on August 1, 1955, and settled into a local apartment soon after. From that point on, he became eager to embrace the American way, and started taking courses required to obtain American citizenship almost immediately. Among the courses Dorsey took were lessons on American English grammar and pronunciation. By June 1956, he had completely lost his English accent, had become totally accustomed to reading and writing in American English, and was fluent in American English vernacular. From August 8, 1955 to October 26, 1956, Dorsey worked as a janitor at a local division of a major fast food chain, which was enough to make ends meet toward the rent at his apartment. During this period, he also made a name for himself as a singer in venues across Los Angeles. However, the first few months in the United States were quite rough for Dorsey, and his professional career was not received very well in the beginning. In September 1955, he cut his first single at Columbia Records’ Los Angeles division, with Joey Marcello and Dave Parry producing. The single was released the following month and was a flop. Dorsey went back to Columbia Records on September 1, 1956 and applied for his audition. That day, he excelled at the audition, with Marcello, Parry, and executive Mitch Miller listening and observing. Following this, Marcello became Dorsey’s manager and regular producer. On September 15, he recorded his second single, also with Marcello and Parry producing. The single was released October 9, and while it never made any chart of hits, it sold well enough so that Dorsey quit his old janitor job at the end of the month, then moved out of his apartment and bought a decent house. He remained a singer primarily at local venues until the following year. The next two singles he made were recorded in December 1956 and March 1957, and released in January and April 1957, respectively. Both singles also failed to chart, but also sold well like the first single. From September 1956 to June 1957, Arnold Dorsey was not a well-known name outside of the Los Angeles area, though he was still very successful. But without a name change, Marcello knew that the singer would be doomed to becoming a merely regional phenomenon.
Since Marcello recognized that both he and Parry shared surnames with notable classical composers, he decided to give Dorsey a composer name. On the night of June 8, 1957, Marcello looked through the names of noteworthy composers in classical music books he owned until he came across and decided on Engelbert Humperdinck (German composer of the late Romantic era, 1854-1921); due to the first name sharing a first letter in common with that of the name Elvis, which is in turn due to the superstardom of Elvis Presley; and the fact that Engelbert was an unusual name. Dorsey was “renamed” that the following morning, and the singer dyed his hair black (to honor Marcello) and recorded a new single later that day, which was produced by Mitch Miller in addition to Marcello and Parry. The single, under his new stage name and with a photo of his new look printed on the front of the cover, was released July 2, 1957 on a national scale; and due to the name change, it easily entered the top 100 singles in the week of its release, climbing to #2 two weeks later. In late July 1957, the singer was officially made a United States citizen, due to his sudden gyration to popularity and superstardom, and his strong commitment to become an American. The single maintained the #2 spot for a few weeks until it finally reached #1 on August 12, 1957, where it remained for five consecutive weeks. By this time, Humperdinck sold his old house and used his earnings to buy a more decent house, a mansion built in 1955, the year he moved to America. The July 1957 single, which launched Engelbert Humperdinck to a level of superstardom comparable to that of Elvis Presley, led to an ongoing string of hits for the singer. He scored at least one hit making the top 10 every year, until the pattern stopped temporarily in 1964, with the onset of the British Invasion, although entries into the top 40 continued without skipping any year at all until after 1980.
Starting in 1964, his main songwriting team, consisting of Marcello as songwriter and Parry as lyricist, began to lose its steam as the main formula for Humperdinck’s success. This was due to their style being “behind the times”. When Welsh singer Tom Jones came out with his first hit “It’s Not Unusual” in 1965, Marcello and Parry took notice of this and started blending the Tom Jones mold into their songwriting style (considered outdated) used for Humperdinck and some others Marcello produced for. Simultaneously, Humperdinck incorporated Jones’ singing style and blended it with one similar to that of Tony Bennett, and adopted this as his new vocal style. (Before 1965, his vocal style was similar to that of Johnny Mathis and Paul Anka.)
Humperdinck’s vocal style beginning in 1965 was imitated by British pop singer Richard Strauss (my invention, born Richard Henry Harris in London on March 23, 1939) starting at his debut in 1966. Despite the style change for Humperdinck, he was still not scoring big like he used to (Humperdinck’s songs from this 1964-1966 period did not achieve mainstream appreciation until much later in his career.) Meanwhile, Strauss had fairly major success in the United States, and was very popular in England and continental Europe. Finally, late in 1966, Humperdinck started looking toward new directions, taking interest in songs recorded by Tom Jones and Richard Strauss. He grew sideburns imitating those of Strauss and began focusing more on recording songs of American songwriters other than Marcello and Parry, as well as recording ones written by songwriters from England and continental Europe (he has been doing such things throughout his career, but it was especially strong during the 1966 to 1969 period). During the summer of 1966, Humperdinck arranged visits and contracts with songwriters throughout Western Europe, including Bert Kaempfert in Germany, before his return to Los Angeles shortly afterward. Shortly after his return, he helped campaign for future US President Ronald Reagan in his run for Governor of California. After Reagan won the California governorship by a landslide, Humperdinck got down to business and recorded a series of singles and albums that would return him to international popularity and success.
He recorded the first of these series in mid-November 1966, with all three men who produced his first #1 hit reuniting to produce the initial single of the series. The new single, “Release Me”, a cover of a popular country music song first recorded in 1946, was released in the US in December 1966. The B-side of “Release Me” was “Ten Guitars”, a song written overseas for Humperdinck by Gordon Mills (1935-1986). Mills was based in London and was born in Humperdinck’s birthplace to British parents. While Humperdinck was in a slump, Mills had been working successfully as the manager of and a songwriter to Tom Jones and Richard Strauss, both of whom he had given their name changes and brought to fame. “Release Me” soared relatively quickly to #1, and brought him to his latter heyday. It replaced The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” in January 1967 and remained on top of the charts for six weeks. As a result, Marcello and Parry were reduced primarily to writing songs almost exclusively for Humperdinck’s new albums for a while, although Marcello produced (or helped produce) every song by Engelbert Humperdinck from his beginning until September 1975. For every hit single written by English or European songwriters, the flip side was written by Americans, and vice versa. (One example is “The Last Waltz”, written by the English team of Barry Mason and Les Reed. The B-side was “Beautiful Dreamer”, written by the 19th century American songwriter Stephen Foster.) This pattern ended with the Mason/Reed song “Winter World of Love”, which was recorded in October 1969 and released the following month, becoming Humperdinck’s 14th US #1 hit in December.
Soon after this, Marcello and Parry made a comeback, experiencing a revival with “Los Angeles (My Kind of City)” (another invention/idea of mine), recorded by Humperdinck in March 1970 and released in April (although Marcello and Parry wrote lyrics in English for the song “The Way It Used to Be” (a song already existing in this version of history with different lyricists)). As Marcello and Parry were experiencing their revival, Humperdinck helped campaign for Governor Reagan once again. Reagan went on to win reelection by an even bigger landslide than he had upon his initial election. The singer remained in the latter part of his heyday until 1977, although Marcello retired from his major musical practices in September 1975, with Humperdinck leaving the label for Epic Records. Engelbert’s biggest hit on the Epic label was “After the Lovin’” in 1976. On October 7, 1977, as the end of his heyday was near, Arnold George Dorsey changed his legal name to Engelbert Humperdinck.
Despite Marcello’s retirement from producing, managing, and songwriting, he has remained the singer’s musical mentor and a close friend of his. Marcello also is responsible for suggesting that, excluding the sideburns Humperdinck had during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the singer should remain clean-shaven like Elvis, who had also sported sideburns for several years. Humperdinck accepted Marcello’s suggestion, as well as his musical advice throughout the years. He has remained popular after 1977, and is still performing to this day. In 1980, as his overall heyday was coming to a close, Engelbert Humperdinck backed Ronald Reagan for President of the United States. Reagan went on to defeat incumbent President Jimmy Carter by a lopsided margin in both the popular and electoral vote, winning 49 out of 50 states. (Reagan won both his home state of California and the general presidential election of 1980 by much over 60%. Reagan’s landslide election to the US Presidency broke all previous popular and electoral vote figures, though it would stand only until 1984, when Reagan was reelected President, carrying all 50 states. In the popular vote, Reagan beat his previous percentage by a considerable margin.)
Throughout his career, Humperdinck has been the chief rival of the hugely famous singer-songwriter Elvis Presley. He has also been compared to Presley since they are close in height and are both classified as having a baritone vocal range, among some other things. Throughout his overall heyday, which lasted from 1957 to 1980, he was nearly as famous as Presley due to his smooth, relaxing style and vocals which contrasted with the upbeat rock and roll styles existent in many of Presley’s songs. Altogether, Humperdinck’s consecutive string of top 40 hits lasted from 1957 to 1980. Although both Elvis and Engelbert still maintain huge fan bases stretching around the world, Engelbert’s fame and singing career waned slightly between 1980 and 2001. However, Engelbert, like Elvis, has experienced resurgence in popularity since the events of September 11, 2001. A 25th anniversary anthology featuring songs from 1957 to 1980 by Engelbert Humperdinck was released on LPs and cassette tapes starting August 31, 1982; it was released on CDs starting August 25, 1987. Engelbert Humperdinck lives in Los Angeles, but also has a residence in Las Vegas.
Engelbert Humperdinck married his first wife, Elizabeth Margaret “Liz” Adams (my invention, born in Los Angeles on October 30, 1937), in Los Angeles on January 19, 1958. Their daughter Jennifer Rose “Jen” Dorsey Baxter (my invention, born November 6, 1958) has been a tomboy since age 2; she is a Broadway and film actress. Their son Michael Joseph Dorsey (my invention, born November 13, 1959) is a singer like his father. Engelbert’s marriage with Liz was short-lived and ended in divorce on June 2, 1960. He married his second wife, Victoria Anne “Vicki” Gilbert (my invention, born in Los Angeles on April 17, 1938), in Los Angeles on January 7, 1961. They remain happily together in marriage and had three sons and one daughter together. They are Cynthia Olive Dorsey Pratt (my invention, born November 21, 1961), Jason Mervyn Dorsey (born November 30, 1962), Scott David Dorsey (born June 16, 1964), and Bradley Mitchell “Brad” Dorsey (born March 16, 1968). All six of Engelbert’s children were born in Los Angeles. Cynthia Dorsey Pratt (who has been married to James Franklin “Jimmy” Pratt (my invention, born January 3, 1960 in Los Angeles) since November 28, 1982) is an actress best known for voicing various characters in children’s animated television series, particularly in Disney’s Baby Talk (1993-1996) (invention/idea of mine), which was produced due to the great success of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats (1991-2004). Additionally, Cynthia Dorsey Pratt is a longtime childhood acquaintance and friend of E. G. Daily (also born in Los Angeles in 1961), who provided the voice for Tommy Pickles in Rugrats before lending her voice to Buttercup in both versions of The Powerpuff Girls.
- Engelbert’s American citizenship was also fueled in part by popular demand following press releases stating that he had such a commitment to become an American citizen, and that he had plans of renouncing his old British citizenship once he became a US citizen. During the second weekend of August 1957, after obtaining an American passport, and over two years after he departed from England, Engelbert did just that. He visited there in part to forfeit his British citizenship, due to being eager to break national ties with the UK; he also visited his parents in that same visit for a week. Engelbert’s parents were still living in his former hometown of Leicester. Before Engelbert became internationally famous, he made one week-long visit per year to his family in England; he made such a visit in the summer of 1956, as well as the one in August 1957. Despite giving up his British citizenship as well as nationalistic and patriotic ties to the UK, Engelbert has never lost his admiration for England and its culture, as well as admiring other countries and cultures throughout the world.
- Originally, E. G. Daily voiced Buttercup in the two Powerpuff Girls What-A-Cartoon shorts, which were originally seen on Cartoon Network. She then went on to reprise this role in the two Powerpuff Girls series, the first (1998-2002) being a moderate hit for Cartoon Network, the second (2011-????) being a show with such enormous popularity that it has become the most-watched show on American television. To avoid confusion with the current timeline or version of history, the original Powerpuff Girls will be much less popular next time around, which will open the doors for the 2011 remake to become such a huge hit. The person largely responsible for the remake is none other than myself. I’ll remake the show since I mostly hated the original as it went downhill from the time the titular girls brutally assaulted an innocent clown who had no evil intent despite having an evil alter ego, which was out of his control. Cartoons such as The Powerpuff Girls will be covered in another revised history series.
- Joey Marcello (born 1918) is an American record producer, music manager, and songwriter turned pizzeria owner of my invention. Full name Joseph Alexander Marcello, and born March 30, 1918 in the Bronx, the youngest of 15 children of Italian immigrants, he grew up musically in a strictly classical background. He didn’t develop a keen interest in popular music until the early 1950s, when he became oriented with jazz and traditional pop, and at that time those genres were falling out of favor to the emerging genres of R&B, doo-wop, and rock and roll. Engelbert was the first successful recording artist he worked with. Besides his work with Engelbert, Marcello worked with numerous other successful popular music artists alongside his songwriting partner Dave Parry, such as Jacob Williams (another invention, full name Jacob George Williams, born July 23, 1923 in Bessemer, Alabama, died December 18, 2021 in Los Angeles) and Kirby Blake (another invention, full name Kirby Walter Blake, born September 13, 1937 in Los Angeles). Joey Marcello largely retired from the music industry in 1975 and opened a pizzeria/Italian restaurant with his son Peter in Los Angeles soon after. It was the following year at this restaurant where his invention, Los Angeles-style thick-crust pizza, was introduced as “Pizza Marcello”. The culinary invention became officially renamed LA-style thick-crust pizza a few years later, establishing the city of Los Angeles as a Mecca for pizza alongside New York City and Chicago. I’ll elaborate on Joey Marcello later on in this article series.
- Dave Parry (1913-2022) is an American singer, lyricist, and record producer of my invention. Full name David Francis Harold Parry, and born March 20, 1913 in Los Angeles, the youngest of 10 children of English immigrants, he began his professional career as a singer in 1931 and remained with his singing career with average success until quitting in 1954, when he began working with Joey Marcello. In his songwriting partnership with Marcello, Parry generally wrote the lyrics while Marcello composed the music. Dave Parry died May 18, 2022 at the ripe old age of 109. I will also elaborate on Dave Parry later on.
- In the current timeline or version of history, Engelbert is often compared to and associated with Tom Jones (born 1940), who rose to fame in 1965 as part of the British Invasion, with Engelbert not rising to fame until the late 1960s (and putting Engelbert in his early 30s)! Thus Engelbert and Tom Jones were considered rivals. In my version of history, however, things are much different, in that Engelbert (born 1936) rivals Elvis (born 1935) instead. Also, since Engelbert was born in 1936, that makes him 21 in 1957, and that matches the age of Elvis when he scored his first chart topper with “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956. The emergence of Engelbert to fame taking place at the earlier date of 1957 strongly contributes to Elvis largely helping to keep the rock genre alive and evolving as ever without being watered down through the 1959 plane crash that killed 3 rock stars (including Buddy Holly) and the British Invasion of 1964-1966. Also, Chuck Berry (born 1926), with hits such as 1958’s “Johnny B. Goode”, establishes him as a founder of modern rock and one of rock’s first guitar heroes; and crossing paths with Engelbert and Elvis and their clean behaviors and actions influences Berry to stay out of trouble and continue to help shape rock music for years to come. I’m proud to say all this is an obvious reflection of the Danny and the Juniors song “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay”!
- Going back to Engelbert, I’d assume he was still quite a handsome guy in the rough span of the years 1957 to 1966; and being musically shaped and trained by Joey Marcello, Dave Parry, Mitch Miller, and others in their circles of friends puts those years to good use in both rising to superstardom and rivaling the King of Rock! You’d think this would leave Tom Jones without a rival, which is not the case due to my invention of Richard Strauss (born 1939). Richard fills in the void left by Engelbert, and it is Richard who rivals Tom. More on is the way for Richard Strauss in this series, so in the meantime, stay tuned…
Engelbert Humperdinck’s US #1 Hit Singles
Amount of #1 Hits by Year Released:
- 1957: 2
- 1958: 2 (4)
- 1959: 2 (6)
- 1960: 1 (7)
- 1966: 1 (8)
- 1967: 2 (10)
- 1968: 2 (12)
- 1969: 2 (14)
- 1970: 1 (15)
- 1976: 1 (16)
Cumulative Total: 16 #1 Hit Singles
Engelbert Humperdinck 25th Anniversary Anthology
- Engelbert Humperdinck, 1957-1961 (released on LP and cassette: August 31, 1982; CD: August 25, 1987)
- Engelbert Humperdinck, 1962-1966 (released on LP and cassette: November 30, 1982; CD: November 24, 1987)
- Engelbert Humperdinck, 1966-1971 (released on LP and cassette: February 22, 1983; CD: February 23, 1988)
- Engelbert Humperdinck, 1972-1976 (released on LP and cassette: May 31, 1983; CD: May 31, 1988)
- Engelbert Humperdinck, 1977-1980 (released on LP and cassette: August 30, 1983; CD: August 30, 1988)
- Engelbert Humperdinck, 1957-1980 (bundle package; released on LP and cassette: October 25, 1983; CD: October 25, 1988)
- The names of Engelbert’s US chart toppers are as follows:
- 1957: “When I See Your Face”, “So In Love”
- 1958: “Ready For Your Love”, “I’d Rather Have You”
- 1959: “Lorraine”, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
- 1960: “Tunnel of Love”
- 1966: “Release Me”
- 1967: “There Goes My Everything”, “The Last Waltz”
- 1968: “Am I That Easy to Forget?”, “A Man Without Love”
- 1969: “The Way It Used to Be”, “Winter World of Love”
- 1970: “Los Angeles (My Kind of City)”
- 1976: “After the Lovin’”
- Engelbert’s US #1 hits from 1957 to 1960 (with the exception of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”), as well as the one from 1970, are song ideas/inventions from my imagination.
Engelbert Humperdinck’s First Studio Albums (1957-1972)
- When I See Your Face – released July 2, 1957 (14 tracks)
- So In Love – released October 1, 1957 (14 tracks)
- Ready For Your Love – released March 11, 1958 (14 tracks)
- Engelbert Humperdinck (eponymous album) – released September 23, 1958 (14 tracks)
- Lorraine – released March 3, 1959 (16 tracks)
- American-Standards – released July 14, 1959 (16 tracks)
- The Engelbert Christmas Album – released November 24, 1959 (16 tracks)
- Tunnel of Love – released March 8, 1960 (16 tracks)
- Butterfly Kisses – released August 23, 1960 (16 tracks)
- Bed of Roses – released March 28, 1961 (16 tracks)
- Never Say Goodbye – released September 12, 1961 (16 tracks)
- I’m Into You – released March 6, 1962 (16 tracks)
- Take My Hand – released September 18, 1962 (16 tracks)
- I’ve Cried Before – released May 14, 1963 (16 tracks)
- Stay With Me – released October 15, 1963 (16 tracks)
- In Love For Eternity – released February 18, 1964 (16 tracks)
- Sharing The Moments – released August 4, 1964 (16 tracks)
- We Made It Baby – released April 13, 1965 (16 tracks)
- Going Out of My Head – released November 16, 1965 (16 tracks)
- Stars Shining Bright – released May 17, 1966 (16 tracks)
- Release Me – released December 13, 1966 (16 tracks)
- There Goes My Everything – released April 11, 1967 (16 tracks)
- The Last Waltz – released September 5, 1967 (24 tracks)
- A Man Without Love – released May 21, 1968 (22 tracks)
- Engelbert – released October 29, 1968 (24 tracks)
- The Way It Used To Be – released April 15, 1969 (24 tracks)
- Winter World of Love – released November 4, 1969 (20 tracks)
- My Kind Of City – released April 14, 1970 (22 tracks)
- The Second Engelbert Christmas Album – released November 24, 1970 (22 tracks)
- We Cannot Part – released May 4, 1971 (22 tracks)
- You Lucky Lady – released October 5, 1971 (22 tracks)
- Save Your Love For Me – released April 11, 1972 (22 tracks)
- Did I Break Your Heart? – released September 19, 1972 (22 tracks)
- All albums produced by Joey Marcello, plus Dave Parry and Mitch Miller on When I See Your Face (1957) and Release Me (1966).
- The album title American-Standards (1959) is printed in the style of the hyphenated logo “American-Standard”, used by the then-named American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corporation (now American Standard), with an added “s” to complete the album title. The album features traditional pop standards from the Great American Songbook, as well as a couple from the Marcello/Parry songwriting team.
- Engelbert’s studio albums released after 1972 are not mentioned in this post, or anywhere in this thread for that matter. This is because to date I haven’t invented album titles that are feasible. In fact, most album titles in this list may or may not be final when all of this is converted to reality. However, one can assume at the rate the albums come out that there will be 49 studio albums released during Engelbert’s golden era (1957-1980) alone, including 39 from the Columbia years (1957-1975). And I can estimate that Engelbert’s final album with the Columbia label is to be released on September 9, 1975; if not, sometime in August of that year.
- Despite Engelbert coming out with four singles on the Columbia label between 1955 and 1957, as you might recall from the Showcase item connected to this thread, I’m going to affirm here that When I See Your Face (1957) is set to be not only the first album under the name Engelbert Humperdinck, but also Engelbert’s debut album! Reason: Engelbert cuts his first four singles under his birth name (Arnold Dorsey), and obviously none of these singles are massive hits, and he’s not supposed to come out with any massive hits until becoming known as Engelbert Humperdinck. Also, Marcello and Parry decide not to risk coming out with an “Arnold Dorsey” album for financial reasons.
- Trivia: the “Arnold Dorsey” singles (consisting of one flop (the first single) and three below-moderate hits (the latter three)) consist of eight covers.
Richard Strauss Biographical Notes
This is a biography of British pop singer Richard Strauss, an invention of mine and a very close friend of Engelbert.
Born: March 23, 1939 in Paddington, London, England
Birth Name: Richard Henry Harris
Country: England, United Kingdom
Years Active: 1959-present
Principal Genre: Pop
Additional Genres: Adult contemporary, vocal, easy listening, pop-soul, blue-eyed soul
Height: 6 ft., 1/2 in.
Short description: British singer
Richard Strauss is a British singer, London-born and raised, and best known for being the main rival of Welsh singer Tom Jones (born 1940). He initially trained as an amateur vocalist in his youth, but at 18 his training was interrupted by a two-year National Service in the British Army, under the British policy of conscription.
Strauss began his professional singing career upon his return to London in 1959, singing at local venues. During the next six years, he sang in various genres, including traditional pop, doo-wop, R&B, and soul, often with a group of amateur singers like himself, or with individuals such as Dusty Springfield (1939-1999), who first became popular in 1964, and her close friend, white soul singer Steve Parker (my invention, born March 2, 1939 in London; full name Stephen Laurence Eric Parker), who first came to fame in the UK in 1962.
Strauss married Mary Jane Robinson (born March 19, 1941) in the Paddington district of London where they both were born, on March 24, 1963. After marriage, they moved to Hammersmith in London where they had two children, Jennifer Elizabeth “Jenn” Harris (born January 16, 1965), and Jason Henry Harris (born February 17, 1966). Jenn Harris was named after Jennifer Dorsey Baxter (born 1958), the first daughter of American singer Engelbert Humperdinck, a long-time idol and later very close friend of Strauss, and Elizabeth II, Queen of England, and her brother Jason was named after Humperdinck’s second son, Jason Dorsey (born 1962), and Strauss’s father, Henry Harris (1905-1979).
In June of 1965, after six years of performing as Richard Harris, his name at birth, the singer teamed up with music talent manager Gordon Mills (1935-1986), who was successfully managing Tom Jones (born Thomas Jones Woodward). Four months after becoming the singer’s manager, Gordon Mills suggested that the singer become known as Richard Strauss. Such a suggestion was made to avoid confusion with Richard Harris (1930-2002), a then-living Irish actor; and also, just like Joey Marcello remade Arnold Dorsey as Engelbert Humperdinck, after the deceased German composer (1854-1921), Gordon Mills figured he’d do something similar with Harris, naming him after another deceased German composer (1864-1949); however, the name Richard as in Richard Strauss the singer would be pronounced as in the first given name of the future President Nixon of the United States, unlike the dead German composer, whose given name is, even in English vernacular, pronounced with the native German tongue (Ree-khard).
Richard Strauss was signed to Decca Records by executive Dick Rowe (1921-1986) in October 1965, and the following month, Strauss recorded his first single, of which both sides were produced by Dick Rowe in addition to Charles Blackwell (born 1940). Between November and December of 1965, Strauss recorded the remaining tracks to his first album; they were produced by Peter Sullivan (c. 1933-2020), who is best known as the producer of a vast majority of early records by Tom Jones and Richard Strauss. The single and album were both released on January 22, 1966. The single, “And That Reminds Me”, is a traditional pop cover of a popular Italian song that later had English lyrics added. The song was made famous in a 1957 hit record by Della Reese (1931-2017). The album has the same title. Richard Strauss’s 1966 rendition of “And That Reminds Me” ultimately soared to #1 on the UK pop chart, where it would remain for five consecutive weeks. Numerous other hits followed, including two traditional pop covers of classic country ballads, “(Every Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I” (1967; peaked at #2 on the UK chart) and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” (also 1967; peaked at #3 on the UK chart).
Yet other major hits for Richard Strauss include one in 1968, “Les Bicyclettes de Belsize” (#9 on the UK chart for two weeks) and one in 1969, a cover of “MacArthur Park” (#1 on the UK chart for four weeks). The latter was originally recorded by Irish actor/singer Richard Harris, who you might recall is not the same person as British pop singer Richard Strauss, who was born with the name of the Irish actor!
- “Les Bicylclettes de Belsize” is a song from a 1968 British short film of the same name originally recorded by Les Vandyke (1931-2021). The song’s first cover is by Richard Strauss, but it was soon after covered in the States by Engelbert, whose version soared to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and #4 on the UK pop chart, making Engelbert’s version more popular than the one by Strauss, even in the UK, Strauss’s native country! This fact can be attributed to Engelbert’s international superstar status, which matches that of Elvis Presley. As you might infer from earlier in this article thread and the one about Elvis, Engelbert has maintained international superstar status since his rise during the second half of 1957.
Biography of Joey Marcello
A biography of Joey Marcello, an invention of mine who in my revised history is responsible for the rechristening of Arnold Dorsey as Engelbert Humperdinck and for launching Engelbert’s career as well as those of several other pop singers. Since Engelbert’s rise to superstardom, Marcello has also been known for his activism in numerous causes. Since his general retirement from the popular music industry, he is responsible for the creation of LA-style pizza, and thus making Los Angeles a Mecca for pizza in the U.S. alongside New York City and Chicago.
Joey Marcello is an American pizzeria owner and former record producer, music manager, and songwriter. Joseph Alexander Marcello was born on March 30, 1918 on Taylor Avenue in Van Nest, the East Bronx, the youngest of 15 children born to Italian immigrants Emilio Marcello (1876-1988) and Giuseppina Napolitano Marcello (1877-1967). He spent the first two years of his life living in the house in which he was born, on Taylor Avenue between Van Nest and East Tremont Avenues. He lived there until June 1920, when his family moved to Haight Avenue between Morris Park and Rhinelander Avenues. His father worked as a barber on Van Nest Avenue near Joey’s original home. While growing up in the Bronx, Joey Marcello primarily listened to classical music. He would later broaden his horizons to jazz and contemporary popular music during the early 1950s. He married Rosie Pellegrini (April 5, 1918 – December 11, 2021), his childhood sweetheart, on January 13, 1935, when they were 16. He attended a local college from 1936 to 1940. During those years, Marcello worked at his father’s barbershop. Stressed with working at the barbershop, and eager to pursue a career in music, he moved with his wife and three children to Los Angeles in the summer of 1940. There, his wife gave birth to another son, and he went to graduate school from 1940 to 1942 and then began his professional career working as an adjunct professor of classical music at a major Los Angeles university from 1942 to 1948. Starting in the fall of 1948, he turned to being a record producer, initially for classical music recordings exclusively. However, starting in 1951, the year after he met and befriended Dave Parry and later, his friend, actor J. Pat O’Malley (1904-1985), who was formerly a jazz and traditional pop singer in England (then known as Pat O’Malley), Marcello began producing for popular music artists, as well as becoming deeply interested in popular music that same year, and enjoyed some success producing classical and popular music simultaneously. After recognizing popular music increasingly as a more profitable venue, and with the onset of rock and roll between 1954 and 1955, he stopped producing classical music recordings and began working with Dave Parry.
In the spring of 1955, when rock and roll was becoming increasingly popular, he set out to create a counterrevolution to the movement and find talent to represent it. After having a limited amount of luck in the United States, and to honor O’Malley, Parry took him to England during April 1955 where they eventually encountered Arnold Dorsey singing at a Leicester venue. Before departing from England, they obtained Dorsey’s address. Upon their return to Los Angeles, Marcello wrote a letter with Parry’s help and sent it to Dorsey. After he received the letter, the obscure singer packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles. The first several weeks were fairly rough, but Dorsey couldn’t stop embracing the American way; and within less than a year after arriving in the United States, Dorsey completely lost his old English accent. He recorded his first single in September 1955; the single was released the following month and flopped. He recorded his next three singles between September 1956 and March 1957, all of which made him moderately successful, but failed to chart. Marcello “renamed” Dorsey as Engelbert Humperdinck on June 9, 1957 after a German classical composer with the same name. He used this name to contest a rivalry with Elvis Presley. With the name change came instant mainstream success for the singer.
Besides Engelbert, Marcello worked with numerous other recording artists in pop music, such as African American Jacob Williams (1923-2021), and Los Angeles native Kirby Blake (born 1937), both of whom are mentioned in the initial post of this blog.
Marcello was also among the first advocates for record companies to cease the practice of creation of false birthdates and ages, used to make a new performer close to 30 or older appear younger. This practice was due to the fact that many young fans, including teenagers, only wanted to listen to artists in their mid-to-late-20s or younger. After Marcello helped sign Jacob Williams to Columbia Records in the spring of 1958, it was arranged that the record company and publicity use Williams’ real birth date instead of a fake one set at a later birth year. One day in early June 1958, shortly before Engelbert performed a series of songs live at a concert stage, Marcello appeared on stage and made a speech, in which he expressed his opinion on the birthdate/age issue and berated young people in general for judging popular music artists by how old they were. He then announced Engelbert to the stage, and the pop singer proceeded to perform his concert. That Marcello came to make a speech was no surprise, since note of it was mentioned in advertisements for the concert. However, the speech led to an interview with Marcello at CBS with anchor Edward R. Murrow. Besides Marcello and Murrow, Engelbert was also present to give his feedback on the matter.
Sometime after the interview aired, upon suggestion from friends, Marcello went for a mental analysis, and when he got the results of his analysis back, the report indicated that his mind was of unusual thought patterns. After further examination, Marcello was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The information mentioned in the previous sentences of this paragraph was personal information that Marcello kept confidential from the public until he released it on his official website which was created many years later. Also in the aftermath of Marcello’s interview on CBS, young people learned to judge popular music artists by their talent rather than their age or when they were born. And more and more record companies ceased the dishonest birthdate/age practice, and by the end of 1959, the practice had been discontinued by all record companies in the United States.
Marcello is also notable for indirectly helping to popularize rock and roll music and what later became known as doo-wop in the UK during the 1957-1958 season, having traveled with Humperdinck on his UK concert tours. This helped further the commonness of British doo-wop groups and British rock and roll performers and bands, and nourished a strong American influence on British popular music and musical culture lasting from the late 1950s to the present day.
Joey Marcello is also known for speaking out against corporal punishment, which was a common practice parents used with their children. His father Emilio, who never used corporal punishment with any of his 15 children, was also an advocate against it. Joey Marcello started informing the American public about the negative effects of it soon after Engelbert Humperdinck rose to superstardom. He achieved generally moderate success with his advocacies against corporal punishment during the late 1950s and the early to mid-1960s, but they only became hugely popular during the late 1960s. By the end of 1969, the practice of corporal punishment had considerably declined, and from that point on, it has been frowned upon by the mainstream world, including the United States.
He remained the manager and chief producer for Engelbert Humperdinck and others until 1975, when he retired almost completely from the music industry to open up a pizzeria and Italian restaurant with his son Peter in Los Angeles. There, Engelbert is a regular customer. Also, Joey spent his first year perfecting a new style of pizza he at first named “Pizza Marcello” when it was introduced in 1976. The style became so popular throughout the Los Angeles area that Joey dropped “Marcello” off the pizza, and outside the city it became known as Los Angeles-style pizza (LA style pizza for short) in 1979. Since that year, much like the cities of New York and Chicago had become, the city of Los Angeles has become an American city famous for its pizza. After President Reagan repealed many immigration restrictions and quotas during the early 1980s, Italian immigration to Los Angeles increased by a considerable margin, thus strengthening the city as a center for Italian-American culture and cuisine. In July 1984, Los Angeles surpassed Chicago in popularity as a destination for great pizza, becoming second only to New York City. After New York and Los Angeles, Chicago has since ranked third.
LA style Pizza is a genuine hybrid of the New York and Chicago styles. Like the New York style, it is prepared dough first, sauce second, cheese third, and additional toppings last; and it is cooked at a high temperature. It is also similar to the Chicago style because of its depth, which in this case consists of a very thick crust for a base, and it can fit a wide variety of toppings. Classical music is most commonly piped in at the restaurant, but Joey Marcello has songs by Engelbert piped in on special occasions, including Valentine’s Day, July 4, and milestone anniversaries of events related to Engelbert. Marcello is a devout Roman Catholic, as his parents were. His natural hair color was dark brown, which turned jet black in 1933. His eye color is brown.
- Joey Marcello was not the only catalyst for bringing rock and roll and doo-wop to the UK. Prince Charles and Princess Anne (both young children during this era), issue of England’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, entered the fan base of Elvis Presley during his gyration to international fame in early 1956. This helped nourish the royal children’s interest in contemporary American popular music; this occurrence captured the attention of the British media, whose publicity of it resulted in the sudden rise of American popular music genres like rock and roll and doo-wop to enormous popularity among the British public, and the emergence of British rock and roll performers and bands, and British doo-wop groups as well. Prince Charles and Princess Anne were also among the fan base of Frank Sinatra during this era. Engelbert Humperdinck won the royal children into his fan base during his own rise to international success in the fall of 1957. The children simply overlooked the fact that Engelbert dodged conscription for Britain’s armed forces, and that he revoked his British citizenship upon becoming a US citizen. As another side note, Charles and Anne later became fans of the American rock band the Four Seasons upon their emergence in 1960, and the Beatles during the wave of Beatlemania, which occurred circa 1963 to 1964.
Biography of Dave Parry
A biography of Dave Parry, a singer, songwriter, and record producer of my invention, who worked with various recording artists during his career, including Engelbert. He had a songwriting partnership with Joey Marcello.
Dave Parry was an American singer, lyricist, and record producer, best known for his collaboration with Joey Marcello in their work with hugely popular singers such as Engelbert Humperdinck. David Francis Harold Parry was born on March 20, 1913 in Los Angeles, the youngest of ten children born to Francis Arnold Nelson Parry (1875-1982) and Emily Elizabeth Perkins Parry (1876-1972), who were English immigrants formerly of lower middle class. He began his professional musical career as a jazz singer in 1931, and continued with this occupation with average success until quitting in August 1954. He then began helping his friend Joey Marcello with his record producing business at Columbia Records as rock and roll music was growing in popularity. After Marcello and Parry had had very little luck by April 1955 in seeking someone new with great musical talent to produce records with, Parry asked Marcello to come with him on a two-week trip to England. Marcello accepted, so off they went.
Parry decided to visit England because he wanted to see relatives still living there, and to extend their search for talent to there, the latter of which he suggested to Marcello. And in addition to the two men’s desire for fame and fortune, they were now hoping to get a talented musician who was barely recognized in England to move out and reap great benefits in the United States, in large part due to the fact that England’s domestic popular music scene of 1955 was very weak compared to the one in the US of that same year. And after all, Parry’s parents immigrated to the United States from England because they wanted to have much better economic and financial success than they had had in England.
The two men began the first part of their vacation in London. There, they had observed no local performer in and around the city with extraordinary musical talent that appealed to them. And it wasn’t worth it for them to search through every London venue with a high likelihood of having a local popular musician performing, since London was a huge city. From London, they ventured on to Leicester, where Parry’s mother was born and raised. It was at a venue in that city one night that they finally found what they were looking for. The musical performer they observed and listened to there was a young man singing songs, some that sounded like jazz, others that sounded like traditional pop; his name was Arnold Dorsey. They loved Dorsey’s performance so much that they asked several residents of Leicester for his address before obtaining it the following night.
The day after the two men returned to Los Angeles, Marcello wrote a letter with Parry’s help and sent it to Dorsey. Dorsey received the letter soon after and moved to Los Angeles within a few months afterwards. In September 1955, a month after he moved, he went to Columbia Records to record a single with Marcello and Parry producing, which was released the following month; the single flopped. The following year, Dorsey went back to Columbia Records where he performed a stellar audition, according to the three men who judged him. Marcello and Parry were two of the three men, the other one being Columbia Records executive Mitch Miller. This resulted in a record contract for Dorsey. After failing to have any of his next three singles make an official chart of top hit songs, Arnold Dorsey got a makeover, having his hair dyed black and adopting the stage name Engelbert Humperdinck upon Marcello’s suggestion. The singer who was now officially known as Engelbert Humperdinck recorded a single which was the first of many to be written by the team of Marcello and Parry. The singer’s makeover resulted in the single reaching #1 on the charts. The makeover also gave Humperdinck a level of superstardom matching that of Elvis Presley, and led to his singles from that point on becoming officially charted hits.
Engelbert Humperdinck songs written by the Marcello/Parry team temporarily declined in their value starting in 1964 due to the British Invasion. Not even when the Marcello-Parry team made their songwriting style more modern in 1965 did the songs regain the level of power they once had. While still continuing to have entries in the Billboard Top 40, Humperdinck did not regain huge popularity until his cover of the 1946 song “Release Me” (recorded in November 1966 and released in December) had soared to #1 in January 1967. The single captured the attention of pop music fans all over and brought Humperdinck to his latter heyday, mainly due to the song being distinctive compared to other hits of the day, and not being written by the usual Marcello-Parry team. Output of Marcello-Parry songs for Humperdinck was significantly reduced for the period from “Release Me” to the 1969 song “Winter World of Love”, during which the singer primarily focused on songs from other American songwriters, as well as those from English and continental European songwriters. During the period, however, Marcello was still the singer’s main producer, and Parry was working as Humperdinck’s vocal coach in practice sessions.
In 1970, song output by the Marcello-Parry team was restored to pre-1966 levels, and the team and its songs regained their pop culture relevance which existed prior to the British Invasion, the latter due to the singer still being at the height of his career. The 1970 format for Humperdinck continued up to September 1975, when Marcello retired from producing, managing, and songwriting in association with Columbia Records. Marcello founded his pizzeria and Italian restaurant with his son Peter, Humperdinck left the Columbia label and signed to Epic Records, and Parry went into complete retirement at age 62. Despite being retired, Parry remained close friends with Humperdinck and Marcello until his death on May 18, 2022 in his native Los Angeles.
Biography of Ray Marcello
A biography of Ray Marcello, my invention and an older brother of Joey Marcello. Ray is best known for managing Ray’s Pizzeria, Restaurant, and Deli in the Bronx between the years 1948 and 2015. Besides being known for its Italian-American cuisine, the restaurant is also known for piping in classical music. Engelbert is a frequent customer of the restaurant during his visits to New York City.
Ray Marcello is a retired American restaurant owner and chef. Often known as “Classical Ray”, Raymond Paul Marcello was born Armand Paul Marcello on October 1, 1915 in the Bronx, the 14th of 15 children born to Emilio and Giuseppina Marcello. Soon after his baptism, his legal name was altered from Armand to Raymond. His younger brother is Joey Marcello, who is best known for launching Indian-born pop singer Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold Dorsey) as well as other popular recording artists (especially Jacob Williams and Kirby Blake) to superstardom, and for inventing Los Angeles-style thick crust pizza. Ray Marcello grew up in a culinary household that listened to classical music frequently. He worked as a barber at his father’s barbershop on Van Nest Avenue from 1934 to 1947. His father Emilio retired in 1946 at the age of 70, leaving the business to seven of his nine sons. Ray’s brother Mario was working as a plumber in Brooklyn, and his brother Joey was then currently working as an adjunct professor of classical music in Los Angeles. After a period of one year after Emilio’s retirement, his old barbershop lost increasingly more customers before finally going bankrupt in 1947. Thereafter, Ray found pleasure working in the culinary industry, taking after his mother Giuseppina (Josephine). He opened Ray’s Pizzeria, Restaurant, and Deli on Morris Park Avenue on May 28, 1948, on the corner of Lurting Avenue, which is close to Haight Avenue, where Ray has lived since June 1920. Ray has also frequently been known as the “Bronx King of Pizza”.
Marcello’s restaurant is very well-known for its brick oven pizza, baked at a very high temperature, and classical music playing there throughout its hours of operation (hence his nickname “Classical Ray”). Marcello has baked his pizza in many varieties, the most popular styles on the menu being New York thin-crust, Neapolitan (including Pizza Margherita and Four Seasons Pizza), Sicilian, Chicago Deep-Dish (since 1959), and Los Angeles thick-crust (since 1982). Besides pizza, Ray’s is also known for its gourmet Italian-American cuisine, as well as its beer-battered mozzarella sticks and onion rings. Since Ray established his restaurant in 1948, the classical music has mostly been piped in from WQXR (the “Classical Station of the New York Times”), which can be located on the radio at 96.3 FM within the five boroughs of New York City and within the greater New York metropolitan area. During his visits to New York City, especially on concert tours including the city, Engelbert Humperdinck is a frequent customer.
Ray is a hardcore New York Yankees fan, like his 7 older brothers. His brother Joey is the only brother not to remain a Yankees fan. Joey has been a fan of the Dodgers since they relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Ray is a staunch patriotic Republican, much like the rest of his family has been.
Ray managed his restaurant for over 67 years and retired in October 2015.
- The New York Times, which is politically a far-left newspaper at this point in current history, switches to the side of the patriots following the defeat of the cabal led by President Alan Keyes and his allies circa 2009. Prior to this, Ray tends to ignore news reports coming from WQXR.
- In current history, WQXR has been a public classical music radio station for more than a decade, and is located at 105.9 FM in the greater New York metropolitan area. If I remember correctly, the switch from 96.3 to 105.9 occurred late in 2009. In any event, such a switch never happens in my revised history, although 105.9 FM can still be a New York City classical music station in direct competition with WQXR.
- Ralph “Ray” Cuomo’s iconic Manhattan restaurant established in 1959 will obviously not be the first pizzeria to bear the Ray moniker; and for the record, neither will Raymond “Ray” Marcello’s restaurant established in 1948. From my imagination, the title of distinction would go to one in Little Italy, Manhattan, established in 1937 by Raymond “Ray” Esposito (my invention, full name Raymond Joseph Esposito, born September 16, 1910 in New York, NY, died December 16, 2015 in New York City).