THIS is the greatest story in Darlington’s music history – greater even than the night in 1967 that Jimmy Hendrix had his Fender Stratocaster guitar stolen from the Imperial Hotel.

We just need your help in pinning it down.

Sometime in 1965, a little known singer called Gerry Dorsey was appearing for a week at La Bamba nightclub in Darlington’s Grange Road. He advertised as such in The Northern Echo’s sister paper, the Evening Despatch.

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Midway through the week, Gerry got a call at the digs in Orchard Road, run by Mrs Oakley, where he was staying. It was his new manager, Gordon Mills, in London, who told him that as he’d been struggling for success for several years, things needed to change – especially the name.

It needed to be more arresting, completely unforgettable. So, said Mills, from now on you are going to be called Engelbert Humperdinck, after a 19th Century German operatic composer.

Gerry, sorry Engelbert, phoned the Despatch and got them to change the advert for the second half of the week so that he was now billed under his new, glorious name. However, as Engelbert had never heard of Humperdinck, he didn’t know how to spell such a complicated surname, and there is a mistake in the advert.

Never mind, in Orchard Road, opposite the Memorial Hospital, musical history was made, and about 18 months later, Engelbert recorded Please Release Me that was so spectacularly successful that it kept the Beatles’ single Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever off the No 1 spot in the charts.

This is undoubtedly a true story: Eng mentions it in his biography.

But can anyone tell us the precise date in 1965 when the Hump was at La Bamba, and can anyone tell us about Mrs Oakley’s digs in Orchard Road. Mrs Oakley was one of several who ran boarding houses for the acts appearing at Darlington’s theatres, cinemas and nightclubs. It must have been one of the bigger houses on the road – but where? Hump himself would like to know.