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July 18, 2014

His name was Arnold Dorsey.

Born in India to British parents, he spent his childhood in Leicester, England.

A bout with tuberculosis kept the young Dorsey from doing the things most English boys love, but the bright and talented young man persisted.

Specifically, he was fond of doing imitations of his favorite movie stars.

Because of his dead-on imitation of comedian Jerry Lewis, he was given the nickname, Gerry. His friends took to calling him 'Gerry' Dorsey and that was the name he used in his local nightclub acts.

He also had a talent for singing; enough, at least, to augment his gift as an imitator.

Dorsey's manager thought the struggling singer had what it took to make the big time, and so he sent a demo record to his contacts at the major recording companies.

Sad to say, he was rejected by all.

His manager tried again. But when the talent scouts saw the name 'Gerry Dorsey' on the cover, they rejected the new demos without even bothering to listen. They'd heard him before and didn't care to waste their time listening to any more of his demos.

The manager concocted a plan to resend the demo, but with a twist. He would trick the recording companies by simply changing the name on the label. Once they actually heard the demo, they would offer a contract, he supposed.

After a bit of good natured brainstorming they decided to scribble the peculiar but infamous name of German composer Engelbert Humperdinck on the label and send it to the record companies.

The trick worked as the demo version of Please Release Me, Let Me Go was first heard.

The big brass at the record companies wanted to know, of course, who this incredible new talent was. They were shocked when it was revealed that Humperdinck was, in fact, the struggling nightclub singer they had previously rejected.

And with that, the British boy who was born in India and once stricken with tuberculosis was propelled into stardom.

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