Kyiv still a popular way station for aging Western pop idols

2009/9/14 3:45:25
By staff writer Name changes are common in the entertainment world, particularly among movie actors, and singers have used the stratagem to advantage. However, few have been as extreme as that of Engl
bert Humperdinck, born Arnold George Dorsey, who wandered through an unremarkable career until he appropriated the name of a minor German composer who was most famous for the children’s opera Hansel and Gretel. For Dorsey, the youngest of ten children of a professional British Army officer, fame came after the name change, a change of record label, and a blockbuster number one hit that propelled him to the international stage, where he remains active to this day, well past his 73rd birthday. At a time when the Beatles were still king of the pop world, Humperdinck’s version of “Release Me,” done in the smooth ballad style that has become his trademark, was in the top ten in both the United States and the UK before spending 56 weeks in the Top 50 singles charts. With far too broad a range to be called a one-hit wonder, Humperdinck’s “Release Me” was certainly his greatest hit, pushing him at least temporarily past such competitors as Tom Jones and the Beatles. At the height of its popularity, "Release Me" sold 85,000 copies a day. Still keeping around 200 concert dates a year, Humperdinck joins a long list of well-past retirement entertainers who find Kyiv a welcoming venue. In recent years, others have included such Western pop icons as Alice Cooper and the Uriah Heep rock band. A giant billboard now covers a large portion of the fa?ade of Ukraine’s largest concert hall, heralding the impending appearance of the man who still bills himself as the “King of Romance.” If you would like to hear Humperdinck’s repertoire live, famously directed at an adoring female audience, you will find seats for the September 24 concert in Kyiv’s National Palace of Culture ranging from 130 UAH [$15.29] to 2,000 UAH [$235.29]. Not bad for a man whose greatest hit came 42 years ago.
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