Music star of a world stature and Russia’s favourite Engelbert Humperdinck gave a concert in Moscow. Shortly before his Moscow visit our newspaper managed to put a few questions to the celebrity with the assistance of the Agency of the State Kremlin Palace.
Thanks to technology, and the Internet, I am receiving emails from Russia. It is such a thrill to read these words and to know is such an appreciation for my music all those many miles away.
My career has taken all over the world and I have been privileged to see so my wonderful countries but my desire to see more is always a part of me. I have not been to Russia for at last a decade and that is too long for me. I am very excited to be able to bring my show to your beautiful part of the world. If my touring schedule was not so busy, I would bring my family over and let them experience the many treasures that Russia has to offer.
Music is my life but I have to balance it with something that will take my mind away from it for a few hours. Golf is my other passion. If I couldn’t play golf, I would be a very stressed person. Show business is two hours of a show and 22 hours of business. I need to challenge myself in other areas of my life and I love to play golf…wherever I go.
I have friends whom I can call up when I come to their state of country and we escape for a few hours of walking, laughing and of course, a little gambling on who shall win. I don’t gamble very much money but I keep everything I win because I make the loser sign in to me. I put them in an empty cigar box at home. When we get together for a glass of wine and a cigar, I pull out the money and we relive the whole day again. I have some great memories that were made on golf courses all over the world.
You are traveling a lot. Could you name the countries and places which you like most of all as a man and artist?
Besides your country, I have a great fondness for America, the country which embraced me and continues to support my dreams by coming out to see my show, wherever I go. Certainly, England is very dear to my heart. It’s my homeland and the birth place of my career. Despite the many days of gray skies, there is always a warm glow in my heart for England. I have a home in the countryside, so the gray skies and rain only make the sunny days more welcome and the rolling hills and fields and glorious green.
There are so many countries which spark a special memory for me. It would be hard to single out a few but Spain, Barbados in the West Indies, Australia, Indonesia, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Mexico, all come to my mind immediately. Of course, there are others which have visited but I have not had the time to enjoy like Korea, Japan and Singapore. You see! I can’t stop naming countries. That was a long question!
You are an acknowledged star. Could you name a few of your friends from the “stellar” community?
Believe it or not, I am a very private and shy person when I am off stage. Of course, during my career I have met some of the most illustrious stars who have impressed me as entertainers and genuine people. Elvis, Cary Grant, Nat King Cole, Jayne Mansfield, Edward G Robinson, Sammy Davis Jr. Dean Martin, Jimmy Hendrix have all walked into my life. The list is endless and it was always a thrill for me because I came shake the hands of such legends.
Actually, golf has opened up a world where I can share a game of golf with many interesting people in show business and enjoy their company while I am relaxing. Joe Pesci, from many wonderful movies such as “Lethal Weapon” and “My cousin Vinnie” is a great friend of mine on and off the golf course. The last time he was at my home in Los Angeles, we sat in the driveway in his car and listened to his CD on his new stereo system. We were like little kids, singing at the top of our lungs.
I also had the great pleasure of playing with Lack Nicholson and I frequently play with the legendry Carroll Shelby pf the racing world and the creator of the Cobra car.
Could you say a little about your off stage life, the cuisine you prefer and your favorite pass time.
I like to make my off stage life as simple as possible. Because I travel so much, I get great pleasure out of just sleeping in my own bed and watching old movies all day. I want to start enjoying my home and spending more quality time with my family and friends. I am a very easy to please but I have a hard time allowing my self to just relax. Aside from golf, I play tennis, darts and water ski. I have to say that I’m quite accomplished in all of them. I once beat the world champion of darts on television and won again when some of the top players came to visit me backstage in Las Vegas. Perhaps it was the fact that they enjoyed a lot of beer that night or maybe I have another calling in life with my magic arrows!
I really enjoy eating out. We have just moved into a neighborhood in Los Angeles which has so many wonderful restaurants. Sometimes I will go alone to eat Korean or Italian food, a spicy curry or a great steak. I prefer to have company, but the owners of the restaurants that I go to always make a fuss of me and the parking attendants are happy to see me coming because I make sure and tip them well to take care of my cars or motorbikes, which is my other passion. I think I have six bikes at the moment. It’s a hard habit to break because I feel as free as a bird without a care in the world when I am riding around on my Harley.
I was lucky enough to be around some of the greatest songwriters in the world and even sang some of their songs. I like to think of songs as little stories and big pictures and it’s hard to imagine a world without such songs as “Unforgettable”, “Unchained Melody”, “Too Young”, “Smile”, and “The shadow of your smile”, to name a few.
I love a lush melody that sweeps you up and carries you away. I’m also a big fan of Latin flavored music. I have incorporated a lot of it into my show. It’s so rhythmic and sensual. One of the most popular songs in this style is also on my new CD called “Definition of Love”. It’s called “How Slow We Go” and was co-written by my daughter, Louise. It’s a very sexy song. I asked her where how she gets such lyrics and stories in her head and she just smiles, sighs, rolls her eyes and says… “Oh, Dad!” I usually steal her best songs but she just had a country artist by the name of Lorrie Morgan record one. It’s a female song so I couldn’t sing it anyway.
That is an casy question to answer at this moment in my life. I have spent nearly 40 years on the road and there are three things that have kept me going. They are the love and support of my family, sincere friendships, and my family of fans all over the world. Without them, the road would have been either a long and difficult journey or a very short one. You’ve got to be surrounded by believers and positive, loving people in this business.
I also stand strong in my religion. God has been good to me and watched over me through difficult and sometimes dangerous times. I may not be someone who goes to church every Sunday but I know that my prayers are heard, wherever I may be on this road of life.
My audience is getting younger every year. I think the fans who have been around since the beginning are bringing their children and grandchildren, who have grown up listening to me. It seems that they are also telling their friends. It’s truly wonderful to look out at a sea if faces and see them singing along to your songs, both old and new.
I actually had a CD out a couple of years ago that was filled with dance remixes of my classic hit songs. It went straight into the top 10 in the UK charts. I think the younger generation got a kick out of dancing to the techno versions of my songs and the fans that have been around for a long time used it for music to exercise to and while they were deiving. “Quando, Quando, Quando” was being sung all over the world… 30 years later.
I hope that I will continue to tour as many countries as possible. The world has changed so much and I am terribly sad that there are boarders that I can no longer cross.
I am looking forward to recording more. I have a lot of great ideas, but I just need to take the time to do it. I just finished shooting a commercial for England and I would very much like to make movies. O would just like a small part in a big movie. It is a way of connecting with millions and being seen for many decades to come… even after I am gone. The last movie I made was in Russia with the Bolshoi ballet. Now, that was a memory that will stay with me forever.
The Internet interview was conducted by Vyacheslav BUTSENIN