25: The Last Waltz – Engelbert Humperdinck

NeilTop 30 - Songs Of The 1960s

Entered Charts: 20 September 1967
Entry Point: 34
Highest Chart: 1
Weeks In: 24

Schmaltzy, daggy, velvet suits, ruffles and bow ties … it screams out Engelbert Humperdinck, doesn’t it? So why does it get a run in the Radio Ga Ga Top 30 Songs of the 1960’s? Well, quite frankly, if we measure it on chart success, it just HAS to be included. Of the 40 songs listed in this top 30 (the 30 plus the 10 honourable mentions), only Hey Jude outstrips The Last Waltz for weeks in the top 40 and weeks spent at number 1. It was a phenomenon that is almost certainly a candidate for our Barry Crocker segment at some stage.

Incidentally, Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold Dorsey and took his name from the 19th century German composer of such works as Hansel and Gretel. This gives rise to one of my favourite anecdotes involving musicians …

My son attending one of Melbourne’s best known grammar schools and they had their valedictory assembly in the Melbourne Town Hall. In keeping with the traditions of the school, they had an academic procession which was accompanied by a majestic piece of classical music written by none other than Engelbert Humperdinck – the German composer not the one we are talking about here. The parents of one boy, sitting one row in front of me, were absolutely amazed when they saw the composer’s name on the program – they kept commenting to each other how surprised they were to see that Humperdinck ALSO wrote classical music.

Very funny although you probably had to be there!