Enjoy the content on this website? Thank Engelbert Humperdinck.
Growing up in a house where the turntable was always on, I was exposed to a variety of genes that will forever be in my DNA. My English father spun classic British Invasion tunes, while my older brother played plenty of AC/DC, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. Mom was an Adult Contemporary aficionado (which led to my lifelong, unabashed Barry Manilow fandom), while my grandmother was all about Engelbert. To this day, I still know every note of his 1983 album, You And Your Lover, the same way I can still smell the paint drying on the front porch of my childhood home. Engelbert Humperdinck is an important part of the soundtrack of my life and one of the artists who made me a music lover – and eventually a music journalist.
Now, in 2023, I have the great pleasure of writing about Engelbert in the present tense.
First of all, the man’s still touring at 86 years old. That’s pretty amazing on its own, but he also boasts 64 gold albums and 23 platinum albums. He has sold 140-plus million records worldwide. There’s absolutely no denying that he is a musical giant and a true legend in this business.
Engelbert’s latest release, the exceptional five-song All About Love EP, drives home exactly why he has enjoyed such a massive career – and why he’s still relevant today. All About Love kicks off with a cover of Barry White’s immortal “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything,” which Engelbert transforms into a Country Line Dance number. On paper, such a thing shouldn’t work: How in the world do you take a Soul classic, put a Brit from Leicester on the mic and turn it into something heard at a honkey-tonk? Fortunately, this left-field recording turns out to be an absolute joy. Not only does he make the song his own, but the video he’s released for it has already earned 2.5 million views on YouTube.
All About Love continues with a beautiful rendition of The Bee Gees’ first American chart-topper, 1971’s “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.” Pairing some of history’s greatest Pop songwriters with one of Pop’s greatest voices is a masterstroke, as Engelbert’s interpretation expertly embraces the original song’s sense of sorrow while flavoring the proceedings with his trademark voice.
While the aforementioned Barry White cover succeeds through risk-taking, Engelbert’s version of Mel & Tim’s 1972 Soul staple “Starting All Over Again” scores by largely staying faithful to the source material.
The EP’s fourth track, a new recording of the Engelbert standard “Take Me Back Again,” is where the heartstrings really get pulled. Already a classic song of longing and regret, it cuts even deeper in this latest incarnation when considering that Engelbert’s wife of 56 years, Patricia Healey, died of COVID-19 in 2021. When Engelbert’s vulnerable, aged voice forlornly declares, “I’d give up everything to have your love again,” you believe him.
Engelbert perfectly wraps up All About Love with a spirited cover of Lou Rawls’ 1976 hit “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” which delivers enough bounce and enthusiasm to conclude the EP on a high. All About Love offers plenty of sounds to enjoy and cherish while also leaving fans wanting more – which is something that all great entertainers do. And Engelbert Humperdinck remains one of the greatest.
Engelbert Humperdinck performs at the Chevalier Theatre in Medford, MA on Saturday, February 25. Tickets are still available.