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 114.

    Having attended ESC of recent years its a wonderful atmosphere and very friendly.Nothing on earth like it.As for UK enter its a very conservative offering,but hey its the taking part that matters.Im just looking forward to hearing the other 41 songs on preview in the next week or two.Long may it continue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Personally, and it is a personal opinion; I think having songs performed by over-the-hill grannies and past-it grandads treats this horrendous waste of money, and all its political voting, with the contempt it deserves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    Well the song is not going to be a hit with everyone, but hey Engelbert can still sing.

  • 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 110.

    Its scary how many people seem to think the EU & Eurovision are somehow linked. They've got nothing to do with each other. Azerbaijan, Russia & Israel are not EU members and never will be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    @105. baz mitch
    ''There is no point to Eurovision''

    Exactly, thats the point of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    I bet Englebert is not a bad bloke & I genuinely wish him the best. I even hope he wins. Yet I need give myself a reality check here. Is this song/singer combination about ratings? Is it because Cliff Richard was busy that night? Is Des O'Conner available as a backup/understudy?

    Or is it because Englebert holds secret government documents and both MI5 & MI6 have capitulated to his evil demands?

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    Neighbours vote for each other, to be fair they are more likely to have similar tastes in music, but no doubt their views of other nations comes into it. I think we stand less chance than ever since Cameron refused to help bail out the Euro. But I like it, and it's good to have a song we can be proud of no matter how it does. A moody ballad may be the thing for Europe right now...

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    With Engelbert vs the Russian Grannies, we can say that the Eurovision contest has come of age....I'm nearly 70 so should support that; I haven't heard the Grannies' song yet but I doubt Grandad will be making it to my iPod list.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    @ name number 6
    There is no point to Eurovision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    The Eurovision Song Contest should be shown on C4 or sky along with the rest of the junk TV.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Have listened to the song will it win? No as it stands would be better if the guitar was muted or taken out all together, it is drowning out everything else. Also hope that a revision of the video is done because if that is the final promo it will put people off. I

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    we have a strange relationship with eurovision - on the one hand its cheese and on the other, how dare they not vote for us. IMO its a relic of the past and now totally meaningless in the real world of music. personally i think we should leave eastern europe to it and perhaps the BBC could reinvest the money elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    It sounds like a song Sting would write.
    Sting is 61 years old... maybe he could ... erm
    On second thoughts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Too many people spouting ignorance. If we put a bit of effort and a decent song in then we get the votes - in 2009 we came 5th, last year Blue would have come 4th if it had just been down to tele-voting - that's the European public picking up their phones to vote for the UK act - hardly proof that they all hate us! It's 3 hours of TV once a year - if you don't like it simply don't watch it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Who cares, surely the BBC are more interested in the public's opinion on the departure of Mark Thompson?

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    What a lovely song. I can already see Katie Boyle presenting Eurovision 2013 from the O2 in London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Does anybody really care?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    As #8 says, not a bad song.

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

    Absolutely pointless singing it once, then, for the Eurovision judges????

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Who needs the glib glitz & nationalist rubbish? This is about music, shared enjoyment, enthusiasm and love of life. Watch the feisty old women performing the Russian entry, singing and dancing for joy. They wrote the lyrics in their own endangered language, Udmurt. Any money will replace their village church, which was razed in Stalin's purges. I'm voting for Buranovskiye Babushki!!!


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