Dean Martin’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award Ceremony

Walking The Red Carpet

Excerpt from the book – BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

What are the chances? The odds certainly were against us but out of thousands of young women, two humble girls from a family of nine children were chosen to be featured singers and dancers on The Dean Martin Comedy Hour. Now, here we are walking the Red Carpet at the 2009 Grammy Awards ceremony with Dean Martin’s family.

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Alberici Sisters

On this day a downpour was expected but it didn’t rain on our parade as waves of anticipation carried us to this moment. Dean was being honored for his “Lifetime Achievement” in entertainment along with R&B legends, The Four Tops, country icon Hank Williams, and pop singer Brenda Lee.

We felt like giggling teenagers again as we reunited with our special friends to walk the red carpet together as a group. Dean affectionately called us “my girls” and we were proud to have performed with him from 1973 through the next two decades as The Dean Martin Golddiggers. While the paparazzi snapped away, without missing a beat all of us struck a pose, just like the old days!

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The Golddiggers – Deborah Pratt, Linda Eichberg, Maria Lauren, Susan Buckner, Marie Halton, Peggy Gohl

One of the reporters pushed forward with his microphone and pulled me and my sister aside to ask us a typical Dean question, “Ladies, ladies, tell me, did Dean Martin really drink?” We chuckled in unison and said in true Dean Martin fashion, “No, Dean didn’t drink; he told us he freezes it and eats it like a Popsicle.”

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Once inside we were guided to our VIP seats. The ceremony warmed our hearts and it was hard to hold back the tears when Dean was given recognition with a video montage of some special moments from television, recordings and movies. We beamed with pride for our hero, who helped shape our careers with his charm, wit and showmanship.

Dean Lifetime Acheivement

When the time came for Dean’s children to accept his Grammy, we couldn’t help but recall being told the devastating news in 1987 that his son Dean Paul had been killed and the toll it took on Dean. In spite of his overwhelming sadness Dean continued to fulfill all his performance commitments with us as his opening act. He told us in a tender moment that entertaining helped him to ease his pain.

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Ricci steps to the podium and then Deana. They share their hearts about what their father meant to them and to the world of entertainment. There will never be anyone like Dean Martin.

As the award ceremony came to a close, it was off to the ‘after party’ where we listened to fantastic music and chatted with Dean’s daughter Gail, who was toasting her dad with a martini. We loved the story she told about her grand- son recently buying a skate- board with Dean’s picture on it, “With two other guys….” that would be the Rat Pack.

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Dean’s Girls: Peggy, Marie, Maria, Linda, Deborah and Susan

As we celebrated that evening it all came flooding back—the stars, the memories… Touring with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the same bill, hanging out in the dressing rooms and at home with Sammy Davis Jr.; taping the Dean Martin TV show; opening the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with Dean and then appearing at Bally’s for so many years until Dean’s final performances. What an experience!

 

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In Memory Of Ricci

We were shocked and saddened to here about the death of Ricci Martin this past week. Our hearts and condolences go out to his family.

RICCI-MARTIN

 

Dean Jeanne Ricci

The last time we spoke to Ricci was at the Grammy Awards. He was a dear man, a talented singer who carried on the legacy of his father with his love, stories and music.

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Rest in peace dear friend.

 

Las Vegas – ‘Lady Luck’

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Alberici Sisters – Marianna Riccio ‘Lady Luck’ – The Rat Pack – Las Vegas

Things sure changed in Las Vegas since our first adventure performing in the main show room at Caesar’s Palace as members of The Dean Martin Golddiggers. That was in 1973 and for two Catholic girls who had never traveled away from home, this was the big time! However, we were a little timid about entertaining in ‘Sin City.’

On the other hand, we were tickled pink to know that we were performing with the best of the best. We savored the experience as entertainers working our charm on audiences that were dressed to the nines. Sinatra made Caesars Palace the place to be after a few brawls with hotel officials at The Sands.

Excerpt from the book, Beyond our Wildest Dreams… 

TV Radio Mirror Magazine, December 1973: “You can’t go home again.” Frank Sinatra takes exception to Thomas Wolfe’s infamous words. Frank practically lived in Las Vegas in the days of the legendary Clan (or Rat Pack). Then a series of punch-ins with various hotel officials made Frank so angry that he vowed he’d never appear again in the gambling spa that he helped put on the map. Maybe the years have mellowed the star but he’s planning a Las Vegas comeback. He’s set to resume his nightery career at Caesars Palace, certainly a fitting place for the “King of Singers.”

Pat Cooper, comedian: “I opened for Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, the list goes on and on. I played everything in Vegas. Everything. I played the Riviera, I played the Caesars, I played the Flamingo, I played the Sahara, I played them all. At the time Caesars was the best. The Sands started to collapse when that guy hit Frank Sinatra. Frank quit the Sands and went to Caesars and brought all his people over to Caesars and it hurt the Sands.”

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Decades later, in 2003, we started doing reunion shows with the former Dean Martin Golddiggers featuring Marianna Riccio when she still had braces on her teeth. Then, a decade after that she returned the favor and featured us in her music video, ‘Lady Luck.’

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Music Artists: Marianna Riccio and the Alberici Sisters

It was a blast to do a parody of the Frank Sinatra song, ‘Luck Be A Lady’ with all the sophistication of classic Vegas while Marianna brings a little vintage fun to today’s Las Vegas.

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Marianna Riccio is ‘Lady Luck’ featuring the Alberici Sisters

The music video starts with a prelude of Marianna and her girlfriends contemplating a trip to Las Vegas which leads to a magical journey.

‘Lady Luck’ through the decades of Vegas…

Shooting the music video was a family affair, even our mom made a cameo appearance in it! Everything seems to have come full circle for it was our mom who took us on her singing jobs and introduced us to performing.

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Today we’re singing and swinging with the LA Winds Jazz Band a classic Frank Sinatra tune to celebrate his 100th Birthday…

Who would have thought that we would still be singing with a Big Band, the songs made famous by members of the Rat Pack and featured in the music video, ‘Lady Luck?’

What do you have on your coffee table?

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The Alberici Sisters reminisce on times performing with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin

Book, ‘Beyond Our Wildest Dreams’ on Amazon

Life magazine, ‘Sinatra at 100’ on Amazon

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100 Years of Frank Sinatra

Frank-Sinatra

Photo credit: Frank Sinatra Enterprises

Memories of the master entertainer, Frank Sinatra, both on-stage and off-stage come to mind, as this year marks what would have been 100 fabulous years for this nine-time Grammy winner. There’s no better time to celebrate Sinatra’s excellence in the industry and reminisce about our summer touring with Frank and his pal, Dean Martin.

For your enjoyment, we share some of our experiences as the opening act for Sinatra and Martin when we were a part of the singing and dancing girl group, The Golddiggers.  It was a double honor to tour with this historical show in 1977, to say the least!

Excerpts from the book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS:

Linda: Frank’s act was superb. When people have their craft down like he did, you can’t put your finger on one certain thing that makes it great but it was. He had a combination of attributes that were spellbinding in the same way his albums had an inherent quality with magnificent Don Costa arrangements on those immortal Sinatra classics like the swinging ‘Night and Day,’ or his signature tune in the seventies, ‘My Way.’ Before breaking into his traditional closer, Frank usually gave a shout out to Don Costa and Paul Anka, the song’s author. ‘My Way’ could have come across as an arrogant declaration of will but Sinatra transformed it into a soul searching ballad that revealed his vulnerability and wisdom.

And then the comedy would start again. The most irreverent comments were made at the mobile bar Dean wheeled out after Sinatra finished ‘My Way.’ That’s where they fired off silly toasts and told jokes. I’m not sure if there was real alcohol in their glasses but the more they drank, the nuttier they got.

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After that, Dean and Frank launched into a lighthearted medley of songs including some of their hits— ‘I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,’ ‘Embraceable You,’ ‘The Lady Is a Tramp’ and ‘When you’re Smiling.’ The audience cheered as the two pros harmonized together, Dean taking the lower baritone notes with Frank taking the higher tenor notes. All of it was sheer magic.

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Frank Sinatra with The Alberici Sisters, Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg, two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers

Maria: From our more intimate perspective off stage I could see that Frank was attempting to portray a hipper image. He had changed some of his standard arrangements to be like the trendy music played in New York’s Studio 54 where the ‘Jet Set’ partied. Frank opened with ‘All or Nothing at All’ set to a driving disco beat. Of course, this arrangement still had the big band sound that had become part of the Sinatra experience. Frank also performed ‘Night and Day’ with a percussive big brass beat. Sinatra was so smart to get on the disco bandwagon, he was always adapting to new musical styles and the top forty in 1977 was crowded with disco remakes of familiar songs. I liked the flavor of the music but Frank seemed a little out of his comfort zone, especially with the rhythm. Frank’s style fit better with his standard swing arrangement of ‘Night and Day’ but I would have jumped at the opportunity to sing to this new hip version.
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Linda: Dean was high as a kite during one Sabre Room performance Maria and I had the opportunity to watch from backstage. It could have been that he was drinking but I don’t know…  Dean was really loose during his monologue that evening, he started out stumbling over his words. Dean nicely reminded one heckler, “I don’t need this at all, don’t need this at all…. I love to work because I’m working with my good buddy, that’s all.” I realized, in that moment, that Dean didn’t have to invite us on this tour either. He just wanted us to be there with him. My heart swelled and I appreciated how much he cared about us as a group.

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THE GOLDDIGGERS: bottom Lf. to Rt. – Patti Gribow, Maria Lauren, Joyce Garro, Pegy Gohl and Robyn Whatley

Linda: Dean’s singing was in rare form when he started, ‘Welcome To My World’ but the spell was quickly broken when Frank Sinatra wisecracked from a backstage mic, “Come on, it’s my world, you’re just livin’ in it.” It was a riot.
Of course Dean got back at him. After Sinatra started to sing, “When I was seventeen…. Dean quipped from backstage, “You were a pain in the ass!”

Maria: Frank continued his off mic comments during Dean’s numbers and at one point succeeded in making him really forget the words. They got a kick out of messing each other up but it was the roar of the audience that kept them frisky.

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Souvenir scarf from Frank and Dean’s 1977 tour

Dean on stage in Chicago, June 10, 1977:

Here’s a song that maybe six or seven of you might remember. And I hope I’m one of ‘em.”

Maria: Their medley together had the usual goof ups but they were obviously having such a good time who could help but get caught up in it? A rousing version of ‘ The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game’ from Guys and Dolls closed the show, and the tour, in Chicago on the fourteenth of June.

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Frank Sinatra is a voice for all generations. We are delighted to give a special tribute to Frank in our live shows, singing the best of his signature songs. Thank you for the music and happy 100th birthday Mr. Sinatra!

Be sure to watch Sinatra 100– An All-Star Grammy Concert, on CBS December 6, when the biggest names in the business will come together to honor Frank Sinatra and his music in a television extravaganza. It will be a rare treat.

Alberici Sisters - Authors - Entertainers - Motivators

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS now available on Amazon.

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. Rights reserved. May not be used without expressed written permission.

Gala Grand Opening – MGM Grand Hotel Las Vegas!

The Grand Opening of the Grandest Hotel in Las Vegas

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The Celebrity Room menu cover

Dean Martin and The Golddiggers were selected to open the new MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, the world’s largest casino! It was an elegant and gala affair! After the festive opening ceremonies, their sold out performance was held in the expansive, state of the art MGM Celebrity Room.

The story through the eyes of two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers and Las Vegas historians is put together in a book. Excerpts from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

Linda: “On December 5, 1973 we were back in Las Vegas, this time to appear with Dean opening night at the brand new MGM Grand Hotel. I felt like a princess, the taxi that delivered us to the door could have been a carriage. It was all so glamorous.
Opening night was one of the most fabulous nights of my life. It was such a huge deal, a big event for the city of Las Vegas and for us. Vegas was so different then, it had that old Hollywood magic. The city had style, everybody dressed up in those days. I usually wore long, slinky gowns in the evenings, before and after the show.”

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Linda & Maria Alberici, two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers



Maria: “I thought the MGM was incredibly gorgeous, I liked it much better than Caesars because that place was so dark inside. Everything was a lot grander, so to speak, at the MGM—more open, and it was all about the Hollywood experience so I loved it. The movie star pictures beside the rooms were so glamorous. I thought, ‘Oh, what star’s picture will my room be next to? Maybe some of her magic will rub off on me.'”



History in the Making

PBS, The American Experience: “Kirk Kerkorian surpassed the size and scope of the International when he built the MGM Grand. The hotel had 2,100 guest rooms, five gourmet restaurants and the world’s largest casino. At 26 stories high, the MGM Grand was the tallest casino in the free world.

The completion of the MGM Grand led to the corporate revolution in Las Vegas. In order to have the funds required to finance the $106 million MGM, Kerkorian sold his International and Flamingo Hotels to the Hilton Hotel Corporation, marking the first time a publicly owned conglomerate was in charge of a Las Vegas casino…”

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MGM Grand Hotel in the 1970’s – Photo Credit: UNLV Libraries

Dr. Gene Moehring, Professor of History, UNLV: “Raquel Welch was the one that set off the bomb that started the construction of the MGM Grand. You didn’t have any high rise hotels in Las Vegas until the Riviera in 1955 because there’s water under the valley and no one knew if the aquifers would mess up the high buildings. All the early hotels were two and three stories, that was it; they were like ranches that went on for fifty rooms but they weren’t high rises.

Vegas was the first place to give deluxe, using the French word, luxury rooms to the middle class for a low rate. When they ran the place in the fifties and sixties the mob would give you a nice room for ten dollars a night. They’d get it all back in the casinos. Very few hotels opened in Las Vegas in the seventies but in the sixties you had Caesars Palace open in 1966, Kerkorian had opened The International which is today the Las Vegas Hilton in 1968, and the first MGM Grand, today Bally’s, in 1973. ∗ So you had all that growth but it slowed down in the seventies…”

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

∗ The MGM fire in 1980 was the worst disaster in Las Vegas history.

Read more in the book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS.

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Dean Martin’s Stingers and Zingers

A new release by Star Vista Entertainment – “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Stingers & Zingers”

There are plenty of stingers and zingers in this eight disk collection. “Dean and pals skewer the celebrity roastees and deflect barbs from notables which include: Frank Sinatra, Michael Landon, Wilt Chamberlain, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Carroll O’Connor, Hubert Humphrey, Valerie Harper, Joe Namath, Dan Haggerty, Redd Foxx and many others. You’ll also get bonus comedy sketches, and over 10 exclusive interviews with Ed Asner, Carol Burnett, Tony Danza and other roast participants and fans.

The former Dean Martin Golddiggers recall some hilarious moments with these television legends while taping the Dean Martin Comedy Hour and the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts .

Excerpts from the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Deborah-Pratt

Deborah Pratt

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Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974:

“Sometimes the Roasts were very funny and sometimes they were just acerbic. Don Rickles—if he was on he could be hysterical. If he was off he was just mean. Dean was always gracious but he just walked through it, I think.”

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Don Rickles

Don Rickles, Dean Martin Roast: “This is one of the great all time thrills I’ve ever had. This is a bigger thrill than watching Pat Boone autograph hockey pucks during the Ice Follies…Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, has been a great star for so many years. This man was married to a great many women in his life. They’re all flat now.”

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Linda Eichberg

Linda Alberici Eichberg, (Dean Martin Golddigger 1973 – 1989) : “Foster Brooks was another one who always had us in stitches. Sometimes we could hardly breathe we were laughing so hard from his drunk routine.

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Foster Brooks -YouTube.com

After we taped our musical numbers with Dean, part of our job was to sit in the audience while they shot the Dean Martin Roasts, at least the segments that were filmed on Stage 4 at NBC. They also made a deal to film some portions of the Roasts at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We did them back to back, we shot the variety show segments in the afternoon and the Roasts later that night. It was a pretty long day but the Roasts section was hardly work and it gave us time to unwind. Waiting around in between takes I had some pleasant conversations with Howard Cosell. He was pretty cool. I was too shy to talk to most people but I felt safe and at ease with him.

Dean Martin-Celebrity-RoastsGreg Garrison liked to have sports stars on the show every now and again. On one show they roasted Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. We were shooting the breeze after the show with Audrey Meadows, Ken Berry, and George Kennedy when Wilt strode over toward us. Wow, he cast a large shadow. Even in my highest heels I wasn’t as high as his chest. Wilt had a sensational personality but I had to strain my neck to have an eye to eye conversation with him. A couple of the girls kept in touch with him and a few months later Wilt took some of us to a club in Beverly Hills. He picked us up in his white station wagon. When we got in we couldn’t believe what we saw. There wasn’t a front driver’s seat. Wilt drove from the back seat! The inside of the car was completely gutted and remodeled to fit his gigantic frame.”

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Maria Lauren

Maria (Alberici) Lauren, (Dean Martin Golddigger 1973 – 1991): “The Dean Martin Roasts were great entertainment, it was a big party loaded with laughs and we were invited! To think, we were getting paid to sit in the audience to enjoy this banquet of talent, a buffet of comedy. The jokes and kidding around was a delight.

Zsa-Zsa-Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

I ran into into Zsa Zsa Gabor a couple of times, once in the ladies’ room when we were out to dinner in Beverly Hills. She was lovely to talk to but I almost had to pinch myself. Here I was nonchalantly applying my make-up with the queen of glamor, Zsa Zsa Gabor! I was with the most famous “gold digger’’ of them all, a major part of the Beverly Hills elite.”



Dean Martin, Dean Martin Roast of Zsa Zsa Gabor: “Well, tonight we salute Zsa Zsa, the most famous of the Gabor sisters. You all know the Gabor sisters, the original Golddiggers? Doesn’t Zsa Zsa look great? It’s a wonder she’s still alive with all the blood tests she’s taken for marriage licenses.”

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Patti Gribow



Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow, Golddigger 1973-1985:

“We were able to see everyone from Lucy to Michael Landon to President Reagan—you name it, the list goes on and on and on.”

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Michael Landon

“The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Stingers & Zingers” delivers the laughs with help from some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Order your collection today!

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© Copyright, all rights reserved – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ Surprise Reunion

dean-martin-jerry-lewis-reunion-with-frank-sinatraJerry Lewis’ birthday is March 16th and we are reminded of when history was made in 1976. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis finally made peace. Frank Sinatra brought them together on the Jerry Lewis’ 1976 Labor Day MDA Telethon at the Sahara in Vegas; it was almost exactly twenty years to the day since their split in 1956. The event made headlines all over the world but it was not news to us and the rest of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. You see, weeks before we saw the rekindling of their relationship unfold at the MGM. 

Dean Jerry Lewis reunion - Life

Center: the ‘matchmaker’, Frank Sinatra with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

Excerpt from “BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS”

“Maria Lauren Alberici-Riccio (Golddigger, 1973 – 1991): Before the telethon reunion, Dean let us in on the private messages and jokes written with our lipstick that he had been leaving for Jerry Lewis via his dressing room mirror. Jerry played the MGM Grand and had left Dean some razzing but good humored remarks on the mirror prior to our engagement. Dean was like a little boy bragging about it to us, ‘Look at what I wrote to Jerry; look what ‘Crazy’ wrote to me. I answered him real good…’ He was so cute!”

dean & jerry

“Linda Alberici Eichberg (Golddigger, 1973 – 1989): When I congratulated Dean on making up with Jerry he blushed and said, ‘Aw, Frank’s idea, he wouldn’t leave me alone about it.’ I asked him, ‘Are you going to stay in touch?’ He only shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘Who knows?’ In any case, the world had been waiting for this moment for two decades and the press had a field day. And the Telethon took in boat loads of money because of Dean’s surprise visit…”

Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon

Read more! 

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Book Now on Amazon!

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Tom Jones – He’s Still Got That Lovin’ Feeling!

This years 57th Grammy Awards held a lot of surprises. One of the biggest was hearing Tom Jones sing. He sounded fantastic, as powerful as ever.

jessie-j-and-tom-jones-grammys-2015The legendary entertainer took on The Righteous Brothers’ pop hit, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” on the Grammy Awards, singing it as a duet with English vocalist Jessie J.

His appearance brought back memories of the first time we met Tom Jones. It was in 1973/1974. The Golddiggers were performing in Puerto Rico and so was Tom. At that time he was the hottest male sex symbol in the world. Women were throwing their hotel room keys onto the stage during his shows.

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Tom Jones with the 1973 Golddiggers group. From bottom left to right: Deborah Pratt, Maria (Alberici) Lauren-Riccio, Robin Hoctor Horneff, Tom Jones, Susan Buckner, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow

Excerpts from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

Robin Hoctor-Horneff, Golddigger 1973-1974: “We were headlining in Puerto Rico at the Helio Isla Hotel when Tom Jones dropped in to see us perform, he was there in the front row so we all got together at an afterparty. He left and a bunch of us girls stayed behind to grab something to eat. All of a sudden these three or four men came down, actually one of them was Tom’s teenaged son, they came over to me and said, ‘Tom Jones wants to see you up in his room.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean he wants to see me in his room?’ ‘He’s inviting you up to his room.’ ‘Well, if he wants to see me he can come down here and see me with everybody else.’” …

Maria (Alberici) Lauren-Riccio, Golddigger 1973-1991: “We couldn’t believe it! Tom was sitting in the front table throughout our show like he was the King of Sheba and we were his dancing girls. Then, he summoned the one he wanted and expected her to appear in his room. I thought, Yes, you are Tom Jones, a great entertainer with sexual energy but really!?” …

After the initial awkward meeting, Tom turned out to be a pretty friendly guy but did he ever get a room key? 

To view more go to: http://www.BeyondOurWildestDreams.com

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