BBC One has announced that international musical legend Engelbert Humperdinck will represent the UK in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
Engelbert calls for Britain to get behind him as he flies the flag for the nation this May at the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan in front of an estimated 120 million viewers worldwide. The song he will be performing (to be announced) will be recorded in London, Los Angeles and Nashville. It will be produced by Grammy award-winning Martin Terefe (James Morrison, KT Tunstall, Mary J Blige) and written by Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winning Sacha Skarbek (Adele, James Blunt co-writer ‘You’re Beautiful’, Lana Del Rey)
In an illustrious career spanning over 45 years, Britain’s own Engelbert Humperdinck has sold over 150 million records worldwide, received four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year, 63 gold and 24 platinum records and is one of only a handful of artists with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Las Vegas Walk of Fame. To this day, Engelbert has remained a global star, he is often on the road and in the past year alone he has performed in major venues in the UK, Russia, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania and Israel.
Katie Taylor, BBC Head of Entertainment and Events, says: "Not since the 70s have we had such an established international musical legend represent the nation. We couldn't be more delighted. Engelbert's experience leaves us in no doubt that he will be able to deliver a standout performance in front of 120 million viewers worldwide."
Derek McLean, BBC Creative Director Entertainment, says: “Engelbert has an incredible musical history and heritage, especially in the UK and Europe. He’s working with some of the best people in music to come up with the UK’s song for this year’s Eurovision. We’re very proud to have him on board.”
Engelbert Humperdinck added “It’s an absolute honour to be representing my country for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. When the BBC approached me, it just felt right for me to be a part of an institution like Eurovision. I’m excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!”
The Eurovision Song Competition will take place on Saturday, 26 May in Baku, Azerbaijan, broadcast live on BBC One, with commentary by Graham Norton.
Engelbert Humperdinck Biography
Engelbert Humperdinck has been a big name in the international music industry for over forty-five years, with over 150 million records sold worldwide. He has recorded everything from romantic ballads to finger-tapping up tempo hits. His remarkable voice and extraordinary talent has endeared him to millions of fans around the globe.
Few people realise that several of the major forces in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, including Jimi Hendrix and The Carpenters, started out as opening acts for Humperdinck in the late ‘60s, ‘70s and '80s. Let’s not forget Engelbert’s “Please Release Me” taking #1 away from the Beatles!
Engelbert has four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year, 63 gold and 24 platinum records and as one of only a handful of artists with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Las Vegas Walk of Fame.
In the past few years, he has joined an elite group of musical artists, such as Tony Bennett and Burt Bacharach, who have crossed over successfully to strike a new chord with a younger generation in addition to their core audiences. He has appeared on several MTV programmes, including two appearances on MTV Beach House, Chilling with the Weaze and Oddville and even sang the platinum-selling theme song "Lesbian Seagull" for the latest Beavis and Butthead movie.
Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey, one of ten siblings. His father served in the British military, and his mother was an opera singer and taught the violin. They all lived in Leicester and Engelbert still has strong ties with the city, receiving a star on the Leicester Walk Of Fame, an honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Leicester in 2006 and was awarded the Freedom of the City in 2009.
After a life-threatening and career damaging bout of Tuberculosis at the start of his career, the young Gerry Dorsey, as he became known, realised that he needed a big comeback and he changed his name to Engelbert Humperdinck. It was just outrageous enough to be memorable and it would take a man with a secure self image and a sense of humour to pull it off.
During his heyday in the late '60s and early '70s, Humperdinck cultivated the image of a mysterious heartthrob, sporting shaggy sideburns and a flamboyant wardrobe that, when coupled with his rich, silky crooning, drove female fans wild. Few people realise that it was Humperdinck, not Elvis, who made famous the sideburns and leather jumpsuits. Engelbert often jokingly asserts that Elvis "stole" the image from him.
He has been especially popular in Europe and his native UK with many of his singles reaching the top 10 in charts in Germany, Holland and Norway. Engelbert is currently in the studio recording a brand new album with Grammy award winning producer Martin Terefe (Train, Jason Mraz, James Morrison, Beverly Knight) and writer Dan Wilson (Adele, Semisonic) with surprising contemporary collaborations.