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
Las Vegas Vocal Training

It’s all about the ‘juice’ – Wayne Newton and more

In the 60’s and 70’s, you had to know someone to work in Las Vegas. In the 60’s. I was too young for casinos  and didn’t care, because I was rocking the concert scene as an opening act, in big arenas.We were the “FREE CIRCUS” and quite good. Performed mostly originals, some covers. Opening for Santana, Three Dog Night, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Steppenwolf, Electric Prunes, Sweetwater, and every super-group that played Las Vegas.

Wayne Newton

Wayne Newton

Then I was in plenty of lounge groups as the “chick singer”, The Sunshine Company, Spiral Starecase, and Commonwealth, the best group that toured the Playboy clubs. I got plenty of life lessons from living on the road, touring all the clubs, and living out of a suitcase.

When my bass player boyfriend in Commonwealth, Jorge Casas wanted to go back to Miami to finish his college degree, I was opening for Gallagher at the Marina Hotel, and we kept getting held over week after week after week. I just didn’t want to leave. He went to Miami, got his degree, paid his dues and in the 80’s was discovered by Emiio and Gloria. Jorge has been with Gloria Estefan ever since!!!

After the Marina showroom engagement ended, it was time to really roll up my sleeves, and make a name for myself. Ha! I couldn’t get arrested. No One would even give me an audition.

The entertainment directors were not interested in me at all. At that time, my dad , Irv Kluger, was the vice president of the musicians union.  He suggested I call Wayne Newton for “juice.” That is what we call a connection, in the biz.

Wayne had wanted to import a musician from out of state, and dad gave him the OK, so he owed daddy one. And he liked daddy. I called Wayne using dad’s name. He told me to come see his show that night , visit his dressing room with a demo and he would see what he could do.

I was 26 or 27 and dressed up pretty hot, and played him my demos. He called in Walter Kane (Howard Hughes’ right-hand man), then in charge of all Summa hotels. Walter loved me, and told me he wanted to see my group on Monday at the Frontier Hotel. I put together a quartet, rehearsed a few tunes, and voila!, an open ended contract with Summa. We worked mostly at the Sands Hotel as “Jessica and Fantasy” I hired a public relations representative, Judy Gold. We worked non-stop for 2 years. My name in lights, and even on the Sands postcard!

Even with all that publicity, tv, radio, news print, when Summa started selling off the hotels, we were let go, and guess what, I couldnt get arrested!!!  AGAIN!!

I wound up auditioning for Donn Arden and driving to Reno for the big production show “Hello Hollywood Hello” at the MGM Grand Reno. After that, “Casino De Paris” at the Dunes.

Without juice, my name was never in lights again.

When you hear the term: show business, the business can be nasty. It is all business and don’t ever forget it. Learn from it and remember that who you know is often more important than what you know.

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