Engelbert Humperdinck unveils UK's Eurovision song


Engelbert Humperdinck's Love Will Set You Free

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A ballad called Love Will Set You Free is the UK's entry at the Eurovision Song Contest, it has been revealed.

Sung by veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, it premiered on the the BBC's Eurovision website on Monday.

The 75-year-old singer, best known for 1967 hit Release Me, is hoping to reverse the UK's fortunes at the show, which is being held in Azerbaijan.

Last year, reformed boy band Blue came 11th, while Josh Dubovie took last place in 2010.

This year's song has been written by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winner Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt's You're Beautiful and Lana Del Rey's Born To Die.

Love Will Set You Free is a tale of heartbreak with a simple, sparse arrangement of plucked Spanish guitar and melancholy strings.

"The more you listen to it, the stronger it gets," said Humperdinck. "It's not a one-time listen."

"It's a really good song," added Lee Sheriden, who won the Eurovision in 1976 with the group Brotherhood of Man.

Engelbert Humperdinck Engelbert Humperdinck has sold more than 150 million records worldwide

"There's nothing to be down about. It's very well-constructed and it lifts in the right places. I can't wait to see how it goes at the Eurovision."

Humperdinck - who was born Arnold George Dorsey - will not be the only septuagenarian at this year's contest.

Russia has selected a group called Buranovskiye Babushki (The Buranovo Grannies) to represent it in the annual competition.

Their disco-tinged tune, Party For Everybody, is second-favourite to win, with bookmakers offering odds of 6/1.

Swedish singer Loreen, who won Sweden Idol in 2004, is tipped to take the crown with her melodramatic club track Euphoria.


In an era of constant reunions, where music is endlessly repeating itself, I guess it's only natural that we should go retro for Eurovision.

And since Engelbert is inherently cheesy anyway it's actually far less cringeworthy to have him belting out a 60s-style torch ballad than getting some poor X Factor reject to humiliate themselves for nul points again.

But did nobody ask The Military Wives?

Speaking to BBC Radio 2's Ken Bruce, Humperdinck said he was wary of his competition.

"I think you've got cause to worry about everybody," he said.

"It's all in the performance when the time comes. That's what I'm looking forward to - getting up there and doing my thing."

Humperdinck was announced as the UK's representative last month, at which point bookmakers cut the odds of a British win from 25/1 to 16/1.

He said he had "been running on air ever since".

The singer also told The Sun newspaper: "I have been in the business for 45 years and with my experience and the amount of countries I have visited in Europe, I can bring this home.

"I play these countries frequently and I hope I have scored some points with them."

Since February, his odds have continued to drop, with the UK now on 14/1.

Brotherhood Of Man singer Sheridan, who also wrote the winning entry Save All Your Kisses For Me, said Humperdinck's profile would give the UK a boost.

"He is a great singer and a true professional whose vast experience makes him more than capable of handling the stresses of Eurovision," he said.

"He is a great singer and he'll do great on the night. He'll be a great ambassador for the UK."


Reaction to the song online has been mixed.

"Just listened to the UK Eurovision entry," wrote Ian Cooper on Twitter. "I think I would prefer to watch that beige, slow drying paint after all."

Tim Roylett's tweet was more positive, calling the song "a real oldies ballad, and perfectly sung".

Lyrics for Love Will Set You Free

If you love someone

Follow your heart

'Cause love comes once if you're lucky enough

Though I'll miss you forever

The hurt will run deep

Only love can set you free

"Nice, but not a winner," he added.

On the official Eurovision website, a user called trickyuk wrote: "Classy song. And sure to stand out in amongst all the party songs from other countries."

A Swedish fan using the name Delicious agreed, writing: "I really like this song. It's not a boring ballad, it's a pretty ballad."

Lora, writing on Twitter from Glasgow was less positive: "They put all the cliched lines from every love song ever recorded in a bag and rearranged them into a new Eurovision song."

The 57th annual Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan on 26 May.

The country is hosting the show after Ell and Nikki won last year's competition with pop ballad Running Scared.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    I'm 21 and I've never heard of this guy before now, reading that he's sold 150 million records world wide doesn't really surprise me, he has a fantastic voice, and I really like this song. Clearly an old pro, Good luck!

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    I love Eurovision. But I do wish our current home grown talent (such as Adele) were encouraged to represent us. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have either the street-cred or the money perhaps to motivate them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Just logged on and listened to the song. Liked it and think it suits the singer. Particularly liked the guitar lead in and accompaniment, could be longer and stronger?

    Anyway, the Eurovision is such a random thing - you just never know. Does the winning country have to host the next one?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Also, we don't have a god given right to win just because we're the UK - when we enter quality, we do better. Actually look at our results over the years before spouting ignorance - Europe know that we have a great music industry, and quite rightly penalise us if we insult them by sending something rubbish instead! Jury voting was brought in to make things fairer, and I think it's helped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Engelbert Humperdinck must be desperate for cash if he is entering the Eurovison Song Contest, Britains entries over recent years have been drivel leaning towards the manufactured X-Factor rubbish type songs. If Britain wants to win Eurovision then they should a song called "It's Better To Stand Alone (Than Be In The Eurozone)".
    And it could be sung by Blue Mercedes


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