When 77-year-old British balladeer Engelbert Humperdinck hits the Mahaffey Theater stage Wednesday night, he promises to do what he does best — sing.
And fans can expect those famous pipes to sound better than ever.
“I’m fortunate that usually as people get older their range slows down and goes away,” Humperdinck said during a telephone interview from his Los Angeles home. “But mine have remained strong. ... I feel I’m singing better than I did when I first began my career.”
After more than 45 years in show business and more than 150 million in worldwide albums sales, Humperdinck still loves touring.
“It’s the old adage, ‘I’ve been living out of a suitcase so long, it’s second nature to me,’ ” said Humperdinck, in somewhat of a soft-spoken voice. “I just love traveling and getting onstage, performing and seeing my fans. And I’m always bringing new things to the stage.”
Along with singing his passionate classics such as “Release Me,” “There Goes My Everything” “The Last Waltz,” his latest tour includes material from his duets album scheduled to be released on October.
On that CD, the singer performs with some of his friends, including Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Gene Simmons, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers.
“I think this is going to surprise to a lot of people — what’s on” the album, he said. “There’s pop, classic songs, modern tunes, Motown and country. All kinds of different styles.”
Humperdinck didn’t begin his career with the funny moniker. He was born Arnold Dorsey and took on the stage name Gerry Dorsey. But in 1965, his manager changed it to Engelbert Humberdinck, a name taken from the 19th century German composer of the opera “Hansel and Gretel.”
His first hit was a Belgium song in 1966 called “Dommage, Dommage (Too Bad, Too Bad).”
The following year he released “Release Me,” which sold more than 1 million copies, keeping The Beatles’ single “Penny Lane,” “Strawberry Fields Forever” from the top spot and catapulting his career.
“That’s in the Guinness book of world records,” he said.
The hits continued with “We Made It Happen,” “Sweetheart,” “A Man Without Love” and “After the Lovin’.” Humperdinck has 63 gold and 24 platinum records, and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
And he recorded the platinum-selling song “Lesbian Seagull” for the 1996 film “Beavis and Butt-head Do America.”
“I don’t ever try to analyze the magic,” he says of his long career. “I’m content with my life, and I’m grateful for the many years up there and thankful for (my fans’) loyalty. The journey has been wonderful, and I hope it never ends.”