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 34.

    I doubt many of the commentators below have the faintest idea about ESC & what it takes to craft a potential winner. EH now needs to get himself on as many European TV variety shows as possible between now & 26 May & he'll be assured a high score. Like everything else nowadays, it's all about promotion & the songs that do well are already well-known around Europe before the contest is broadcast.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Surely the song should have been called

    'I'll release you'

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Please do a bit better with your fact checking as Loreen finished in 4th place in Swedens Idol in 2004 :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    How typical, in a news story about Eurovision, for mostly-negative comments to be featured in the story. I understand knocking the contest is a national obsession, but surely praise where praise is due should also be the edict. For the record, I love it. A great song and not a Boom Bang-a-Bang in earshot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    The song is irrelevant, people just vote for countries they like or immigrants in another country vote for their home country, hence why the UK gives so many points to Ireland and why the Scandinavian countries always give each other such high scores.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Ireland had the right idea with "My Lovely Horse".
    This entry is too good and there really is a risk of us winning this time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Love song? Seriously? Pass me the bucket...

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    This is a good song/singer. The trouble is we treat it as a joke when other countries take it seriously.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I've never consciously heard a Humperdinck song, but I love Eddie Izzard's routine on how he came to pick that name.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    United Kingdom.... Nil points

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    I was surprised at how good the song is. I would prefer it without the strings - just the classical guitar, sometimes less is more.

    I agree Will. A pretty tidy little number. Good luck to him.
    If only the Eurovision song contest was about singing and music he would be in with a good chance of winning. Unfortunately it's about licking your neighbours backs*de. Nil point?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Nice song - some interesting musicalities - could have had a repeated ascending riff in the chorus - it peeters out a touch
    Liked the guitar, but why not change into pizzicato cascades etc. would have been a nice lift, strings atouch too heavy towards the end - but its just an opinion
    But overall - nice, clean, well performed (of course)

    wont win, might be top 10 - good for older audience maybe

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    I think, based on our recent experiences,that is good that we decided to surrender before the battle - saves all the aggravation.

    Personally those Russian grandmothers are SO hot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    "it must be slow news day, hence our being able to comment on this.
    Thankfully there are no disasters going ...jewish kids being shot in France, Gay people...persecuted across Africa, ...Emo kids...murdered in Iraq"
    Perosnally I think it's good to have some reprieve from the pointlless Muslim/Catholic/anything bashing that these events invariably trigger.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The ''Hump'' is a living God, all power to his larynx!
    I'm glad he was available to do it otherwise we would have had to put up with his long time tribute act, Tom Jones.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I was surprised at how good the song is. I would prefer it without the strings - just the classical guitar, sometimes less is more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Well, we knew who was going to win Masterchef long before the final day, and sure as anything Eurovision will go to anyone, except the UK. Must be a while since we won, I wonder why.

  • 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 16.

    Is it August already?

    I only ask because it seems it must be slow news day, hence our being able to comment on this.
    Thankfully there are no disasters going on in the world, such as jewish kids being shot in France, Gay people being persecuted across Africa, 50+ Emo kids being murdered in Iraq over the last few weeks because they might be gay

  • 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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