ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK: Alright. Thank you for having me back this week for my first Christmas special, being locked down in L.A. When you haven’t been on stage for a while, and you are working from your home, it is a little different, isn’t it?
GM: It certainly is, but I know the show is going to be as enjoyable as when I saw you last year, in person, here in Daytona Beach.
EH: Oh, thank you.
GM: The first song on Sentiments is a new version of a rarity that you originally recorded in 1988 as a German only release, “One World,” which is still topical. You sing, “Why can’t we be one human race?”
EH: I re-recorded it for nonpolitical reasons. I wanted to sing about us being from united nations so that people would be friends all over the world. What’s happening with this pandemic is one nation is helping another, as we are all trying to get a vaccine suitable for survival. In a way, it has brought the world together.
GM: It is a world that you have seen, with concerts everywhere over the decades.
EH: Music has been my passport throughout the world and it has really been an amazing journey for me. I have been to almost every country and I found that out just last week when I went on my YouTube channel and I was premiering my duet single with Janet Devlin from the EP, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” We all watched it together and I saw people signing in from all over the world. We counted people from around fifty countries attending. I couldn’t believe it. It was a live chat that I did and I could see that there were people from Argentina, South Africa, Australia, all over Europe, the U.S. and everywhere. It is such a compliment!
GM: A well deserved one. You have brought us over fifty years of musical entertainment, so that is wonderful news. On this week’s news, we have learned that Bob Dylan has sold the rights to his songs, which includes “Forever Young” as part of that catalog.
EH: I heard. I love that song. I performed it on stage before the pandemic. I thought that I must record this song, so I put it on this EP.
GM: In addition to your vocal and the background vocals, I enjoy the opening electric guitar. The lyrics are delivered so clearly and being forever young is so true in your case.
EH: Thank you. I took it from a good writer and just performed his work my way. I live by the sentiment of trying to stay young. If you think young, you will remain young, except for a few aches and pains, now and again, I’m quite a young man, ha ha.
GM: When I was a young boy, I would watch, with my father, the MDA Labor Day Telethon, hosted by Jerry Lewis. There was comedy for my dad and music for me. I looked forward to hearing standards with classy deliveries. That is what I am reminded of with the last song on the EP, as you sing Charlie Chaplin’s composition “Smile” accompanied by just a piano.
EH: It is a different form of recording, just using a piano, played by Eddie Tobin, who I have known for a long time. He used to be my musical director and he lives in Florida, like you. At my request, Eddie came through, recorded the track, and sent it to me.
GM: You and Eddie end that EP with gentle warmth. Now let’s move on to Warmest Christmas Wishes, your 2018 OK! Good Records album, which includes Gilbert O’Sullivan’s composition “Christmas Song (I’m Not Dreaming of a White Christmas).” Thank you for introducing me to this holiday song where you are “dreaming of a peaceful world.”
EH: Gilbert is a very dear friend of mine. Gilbert, Tom Jones, and I were all part of Gordon Mills’ stable of artists. I thought I had to do one of Gilbert’s songs and am so happy I put that on the album. He was so delighted when I called him up and I said that I hope he didn’t mind me recording it and he said, “Oh, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.” He is such a nice man.
GM: Many people only know “Alone Again (Naturally).” One of my favorite songs of his is “Nothing Rhymed,” which I learned from Burton Cummings’ first album.
EH: Have you ever heard the song “Clair?”
GM: Yes. That is nice too, one of his three gold singles in the U.S. along with “Get Down.”
EH: You know, Clair is one of Gordon’s children. He used to babysit Clair and wrote a song about her and it is just an amazing song. He is such a wonderful writer. “Alone Again (Naturally)” is unbelievable, isn’t it?
GM: It is. The lyrics just keep on going. My wife Donna and I just heard it in the car the other day.
EH: Once you hear it, it stays in your head all day. That’s the sign of a great song.
GM: In terms of greatness, Jurgen Korduletsch is a great producer for your OK!Good Records releases in recent years, plus he co-writes wonderful songs for you like “Silently Falls the Snow.” When you sing “rejoice” it is so beautiful.
EH: Thank you. My daughter Louise and I co-wrote the lyrics with Jurgen.
GM: That is another of your waltz recordings, like “Around the Christmas Tree,” one of five songs from the album that we talked about in our 2018 interview along with “Driving Home for Christmas,” “Still, Still, Still,” “Silent Night,” and my favorite, “A Christmas for the Family.” Now let’s go back to your Christmas Tyme album, which you mentioned in our 2017 interview. “A Night to Remember” is a favorite of mine, and like you said about “Alone Again (Naturally),” one that sticks in your head all day. Linda November’s background vocals add to its beauty.
EH: Isn’t she a great singer? She and her singers really made the album with their background vocals being so great.
GM: Joel Diamond produced that 1977 Epic album along with 1980’s A Merry Christmas, also on that label, which ends with “The Lord’s Prayer,” which is so wonderfully peaceful.
EH: Isn’t it? Thank you very much. Charlie Calello was the arranger on that, who did my arrangement for “After the Lovin’.” He is just an amazing arranger. I miss working with him and other people like him. They have seemed to retire, and I wish they would come back and do some more work. I’m not quitting, ha. I’m here, ha ha.
GM: Thank goodness. At the Christmas show, will we be hearing music from all of your Christmas albums?
EH: Yes. I have chosen songs apropos to what is going on. Hopefully I have chosen the right songs that are suitable for everyone. Thank you for promoting the show and my music, I appreciate talking to you again this year.
Related links including how to attend his Christmas events: