Recording in Capitol Records Studio A at age 12

Jessie Paul in Studio C

I always knew that I would sing. it was a given. I didn’t have a back-up plan. Thank goodness it worked out. Although I hadn’t sung on stage as a child, I did concerts at my folks home in North Hollywood. I mean, concerts!

Before we put a pool in, we tore the orchard out, rented a stage, chairs, and had The Andrew Sisters, Joel Grey, Ray Bolger, Joe Williams, and many others my dad played drums for. This was a normal summer jam at the Kluger house.

My dad, the late Irv Kluger was on the road so much, we threw huge parties when he would come home. Once we took nail polish and wrote on the inside rim of the toilet seat “GOODY, DADDY”S HOME!” Everyone really got a kick out of that.

My first album, not counting Shirley Temple”, was “Eydie In Love”. Eydie Gorme was my favorite, at four years old.  Forty years later I got to tell her that, when working the Las Vegas Country Club, where Steve and Eydie would come in  often after they moved to Las Vegas. They were so gracious, I spent my breaks in the lounge with them, talking shop.

Edyie in Love

Edyie in Love

It wasn’t a shock when my dad thought it was time that to bring me to the CEO of  Capitol Records for an audition. I wasn’t a bit nervous. This was what I did. I played guitar for myself and sang a Peter Paul and Mary song.

I got an answer right away! I was signing a 6-record deal. 3 records, 6 sides on 45s. They put me on a subsidiary label, World Pacific Jazz. I still got the Star treatment.

My producer started writing songs for me, and some were written by writers for the EverlyBrothers. Another song chosen for me was “Sukiyaki” with a new English lyric.

My dad’s good friend,  a  Radio DJ Bob Crane (late, an actor of Hogan’s Heroes fame) was excited to start playing my tunes on the air. His wife Anne and son Bobby Jr. were great friends and we spent many weekends at their home, swimming and hanging out.

Capitol Records Building

Capitol Records Building

We were at his house when he brought the Hogans Hero’s script home. We all laughed. It would never last. Too outrageous.  Wow, were we wrong!!! I even saw Bob in the 70’s at the Tropicana with his new wife, when he came to hear my band Commonwealth. No matter what you heard about his death, he was a lovely man.

At this time, I was in Van Nuys Jr High School, learning my songs for my first record. This was no big deal, I always planned on this.

I went to school with a lot of big stars kids. John Derek’s, and Jane Russell’s, to mention a few.

We worked hard on the phrasing and articulation of my songs. I was ready. I wore white slacks, tennis shoes, a striped polo shirt and strode in like it was another day. Never a lesson in my life.

I had Studio where  Sinatra recorded. The Big Studio. I walked in to find an orchestra, strings, and three back-up singers. We were doing it live. I had great pitch and they  had faith I could pull it off.  I did it,

I was in a little booth, the band played on and it was AWESOME.  My first single’s were Johnny Let Me Go” and “Popcorn and Candy “.  My Press pictures were done, I was clueless how to pose. Just look at my pics! Ughhh, but I was a baby.

The record was pressed, I did a concert at Van Nuys Jr High lip-syncing my records, I was a budding pop star. I was written up in all the trade magazines.   Billboard Magazine charted “Johnny Let Me Go”, 75 with a bullet. Meaning, the song was shooting up the charts.

Then my world stopped. The Beatles came out and were on Capitol!!!!! Singers like Lesley Gore and Jessie Paul, {They changed my name} were history. Hermans Hermits, Dave Clark Five and the Beatles were IT.

We had a contract, so they recorded my other songs and shelved me. Tax write-off.  I was a has been at 12. They changed my name, my life, my dreams, and now it was up to me, to continue a career that they had started. My dad got busy, on his own dime, flew out to Boston, Philly, all the breakout states and wined and dined the radio station managers to play my song.

I lasted long enough to do some opening act concerts with Johnny Crawford, and later,  as a teen, with Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Iron Butterfly, Cream, Santana, Sweetwater, Blue Cheer, Grateful Dead, and others.

I continued to work, even though I wasn’t particularly famous. I worked at something I loved, I sang for a living. I did it on my own, with my name, on my terms.

I continue to sing into my  next chapter of my life, and happily, get paid darn well for it. I am proud of what I did with the talent that I got from my parents.

I know my dad was proud of me, I know he still is .

Jessica Marciel
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