They formed a close bond after storming the music charts in the 1960s and ’70s, and now Engelbert Humperdinck has revealed what his friend Elvis Presley was really like behind closed doors – and the surprising lessons he taught him about juggling fame with ‘real life’.
Having enjoyed success in both the UK and US with hits like Release Me and The Last Waltz, Engelbert, 82, finally met ‘The King’ himself towards the end of the ’60s, when Elvis surprised him at one of his shows.
Their friendship grew from there and Engelbert has now revealed the music superstar couldn’t have been further from his glitzy on-stage persona behind closed doors. Speaking in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, he said he was actually one of the most humble and kind people he had ever met.
“There have been a few memorable artists I’ve worked with. Ray Charles is one of the great ones – possibly one of my favourites. But the person who left a great impression on me, and I haven’t really sang with him but we became friends, was the great Elvis Presley,” he said.
Happy Birthday to my old friend @elvis. The world misses you.#Repost @okgoodrecords ・・・ Happy birthday to the King of Rock and Roll #elvispresley! He would have turned 81 years old today! Here he is with our friend @thisisengelberthumperdinck! 🎂🎈🎊 #humperdick#happybirthday #engelbert
“[We had some happy times]. I must say that watching him working really taught me a lot of things about showbusiness, because I think he was the greatest artist I’ve ever seen on stage as a performer.”
While some of those lessons undoubtedly stemmed from Elvis’ success on stage, the more valuable ones came from his incredible ability to remain humble and grounded amid such giant fame.
“One of his greatest things was he never took his image seriously,” Engelbert added. “That’s now one of the things I never do. He had a lot of humility and he was very charismatic.”
He explained: “It never went to his head and he taught me that too. I find humility is a great thing to have in one’s life, he had it and so do I.”
Engelbert previously revealed his friend actually got the idea for his signature sideburns from him, having copied the style a few years after he first adopted it – and it remained a joke between the pair up until Elvis’ tragic death in 1977.
The singer is now preparing to return to Australia, with his ‘The Man I Want To Be’ tour set to land down under in March 2019. He will be performing in iconic theatres around the country, showcasing new music as well as hits including ‘Quando Quando Quando’, ‘Release Me’, ‘A Man Without Love’, ‘The Last Waltz’ and ‘Am I That Easy To Forget’.
To buy tickets for his Aussie tour, visit the official site here.