Arnold Dorsey or Gerry as he was known to friends met Mills when he was singing with the Viscounts. They became great friends and room mates. They both carried on with their respective careers, but after many failed single attempts and a serious illness Dorsey’s career hit an all-time low.
In 1967, Mills saw the potential of his old friend. At the time Mills was having a lot of success with his song writing and artist management, soon after the relationship was established, the singer was rechristened Engelbert Humperdinck – a name inspired by the composer of the nineteenth-century opera Hansel And Gretel. Humperdinck was relaunched as a balladeer.
His first single for Decca Records, ‘Dommage Dommage’ failed to chart, but received considerable airplay. There was no mistake with the follow-up, ‘Release Me,’ which dominated the number 1 spot for five weeks and, most remarkably, prevented the Beatles from reaching the top with ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever.’
‘Engelbert Humperdinck,’ was appearing at the London Palladium, standing in at the last minute for Dickie Valentine. It was the chance of a lifetime. His performance was brilliant. ‘Release Me’ created a deluge of phone calls the following morning from record shops wanting to know where they could buy the record.
Thousands of fans were trying to order his recording of the song and trying to pronounce his name. A few weeks later the disc was number one in Britain (it sold over five million copies), and he became Britain’s top male singer. For the next six years, he enjoyed phenomenal chart success both in the UK and America, commanding vast sums of money for appearances.
The hit records soon began to pile up, with ‘There Goes My Everything,’ ‘The Last Waltz,’ ‘Spanish Eyes,’ ‘A Man Without Love,’ ‘Am I That Easy To Forget,’ ‘Winter World Of Love,’ and ‘After The Lovin’ among them.
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 ’60’s,70’s and ’80’s. He now has one of the largest fan clubs in the world with over eight million members. He’s won the Golden Globe’s ‘Entertainer of the Year,’ and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.