Engelbert - What's in a name....like Elvis?!
Any of you read the recently published autobiography of the Legendary 'King of Romance' - Engelbert Humperdinck? It's titled 'Engelbert - What's in a name'.
I've been waiting for years to read about Enge's rise to fame and at last it's in the stores. Obviously, I've heard him on chat shows throughout the years talk about his connection with Elvis in Vegas and relating the famous story about how he was the first to grow the mutton-chop style sideburns before Elvis did (can't help but think there is a tinge of bitterness here because Enge was the one who ended up shaving his off because people thought he was copying Elvis!).
Nevertheless, it appears that Mr. H as remained true to 'The King' over the years, because it does come across in the book that he more or less worshipped Elvis - read the story about August 16th when Engelbert was playing Lake Tahoe...really moving stuff...and an amazing tribute...
Enge touches on the fact that when they both played Vegas, Elvis and himself used to attend each other's shows and in turn introduce each other in the audience. But, I can't help but think that Engelbert's memoirs of such stories are somewhat hazy and misleading as time as gone by. I know Enge talks about himself being 'friends' with Elvis in Vegas, but if truth is known Engelbert probably only saw/met Elvis on a few occasions that you could count on one hand.
One particular story that struck me as a big question mark is when Enge states that Elvis used to have this woman follow him around in the early Vegas days of 1970 and have her make sketches of him with new creations of jumpsuits and she used to illustrate Elvis with sideburns and big collars in the sketches, so Elvis liked the look of them and decided to adopt his sideburned-look(thought Elvis' sideburns were already fully mutton-chop style in 1970??)...Enge then goes on to state that in a documentary this woman can be seen giving Elvis one of these sketches and Elvis snarls at it saying, "It looks like Engelbert Humperdinck!"
Hmmm....isn't this woman known as Barhega (forgive the spelling - Elvis' pronounciation) and wasn't she the fan at the foot of the Vegas stage presenting this sketch to Elvis in 'That's The Way It Is - Special Edition'?
Hmmmm.....Mr. H....can't help but think that you have got an overactive imagination....or should we blame your co-author, Katie Wright for you getting her muddled up about sideburns, Barhega, and Jumpsuits?!......one question then - was Barhega on Elvis' payroll to follow him around in Vegas and make sketches of him in proposed designs for jumpsuits - what's that man Bill Belew got to say about this? Is Bill still with us?
One more thing - it appears that Enge didn't have too close a relationship with Elvis' bodyguards as he refers to the controversial Red West by putting an 'F' before his name, making him known as Fred West in the book. In the UK that name is a very dirty and controversial name in itself belonging to a former mass murderer - do we just blame Katie Wright again for this or do we accept the fact that Engelbert thinks Red's name is actually 'Fred'?
It's a shame that such stories appear to be very much in the line of fabrication - any big Elvis fan can spot this a mile off....but, nevertheless, Enge has remained true to Elvis over the years unlike his Welsh counterpart, the undisputed 'King of Fabrication' - Mr. Tom Jones.
Enge is a character and a very sincere one too as well as being a wonderful performer of the highest quality - plus there is also THAT voice. I do like and admire Engelbert, but he probably would have liked to have known and spent more time with Elvis than what he actually did.
Anyway, if you are also a fan of the 'Humpster' go and buy his book and enjoy it - even for the 'hazy' cross-wire memoirs of his time with Elvis in Vegas.
What do you think guys?
Interesting and amusing post there, thanks.
As for the TTWII SE clip, a careful check of the dialogue would if I'm not mistaken shed more light on the topic..................but doesn't Elvis ask her name and then say it back to her in a quizical manner to check he'd said it correctly as if it was the first time he'd spoken to her ?
Certainly to me, the comment Elvis made in the same clip about it looking like Engelebert Humperdink sounded good natured and jokey enough from what I recall.
Anyone got that great photo of Elvis with Englebert..............if no one has posted it I will try and fish it out tomorrow.
'What, honey ? ..... one scarf for the balcony ?! ........... OK ........... gimme a baseball ! ............ there's no way unless you put a rock in it'.
(Las Vegas - 7th December 1975)
Thank You, Spinout
Thank you for your kind words, Spinout-Designs...
Yes, you're right - I think it appears that Elvis genuinely does not know Barhiga plus he is very much appreciative of her sketch and I think his comical line about Engelbert is a classic moment.
I also think it's another case of Enge getting his facts wrong just like 'Fred West'.....shame.
That classic photo of the two 'E's' is published in the book and it is in glorious colour and somewhat more lengthy too (I will try to scan and post next time, don't have time right now) - Elvis looks fabulous. Unfortunately, another wrong Engelbert fact is that the photo is stated as being taken in 1973?....looks more like May, 1972 when Elvis had just come back from his Hawaii vacation prior to his glorious Madison Square Garden shows....I also thought that Enge had first met Elvis in 1970/71 and not 1973 as stated in this book.
Jeez, will we ever know?!
It is common for many who were there (both celebrity & non-celebrity individuals) to inflate their role in events, embellish, insert themselves into situations that have become common lore, omit themselves from situations that they don't want to talk about or have known, and otherwise generally re-tell "History" as they have come to believe it or would like it to be.
As stated, most do it to varying degrees, some more than others, ........... and some sources are more / less reliable to varying degrees because of it.
Also, keep in mind, .............. EP was a very charismatic man and had a way of making people feel as if they were #1 in his eyes; of course, all wanted to believe (wouldn't you?). Most embellishing is innocent, but sometimes it is done for other motives.
Regarding the TTWII SE "Bahigan" (sp?) moment:
My take on it is that EP signs a copy of the same portrait, keeps a framed version with her permission, ............ she bizarrely asks E for her pen back, ......... then ................ one of two possibilities ...........
1. She askes EP to sign additional items ...
2. She has a camera & asks for a picture ..
EP's response, rather tersely, is "Sorry, I can't do that .........." The latter makes more sense in the big scheme of things if you consider that no photography by the audience was allowed as a rule in the Vegas showrooms. Since "Bahigan's" items are out of camera-shot (at least on my version) ............... I don't know which it is, but ............. I personally lean towards the former.
- Capt. "EL."