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.”

~~~

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.

~~~

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

~~~

© Copyright, all rights reserved.

 

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100 Years of Frank Sinatra

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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.

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. 

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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!”

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“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!

© Copyright, All rights reserved

The Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra Rat Pack Tour – 1977

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Excerpts from the book – BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

“Linda: We were booked for what was being nicknamed the Rat Pack Tour in early summer 1977 with Dean and Frank Sinatra. Frank was already on the road with Pat Henry as his warm up so Dean brought us along for his opening act. Dean would have his conductor Ken Lane whereas Frank brought along Bill Miller to lead the orchestra while he sang. We’d worked with so many legendary Italian crooners and now to share the stage with both Dean and Frank Sinatra—it was a thrill of a lifetime.”

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“Maria: The tour kicked off on May 16, 1977 with two weeks at the Westchester Premier Theatre in Tarrytown, New York to be followed by a week at The Latin Casino, where we’d appeared so many times before. That meant home sweet home for us. After that we’d travel with Dean and Frank to Chicago’s famed Sabre Room for four nights. We had worked with Dean many times in Vegas and on television but this was far different. For one thing Dean rarely traveled outside of Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe to perform. It was an honor to be opening for Dean and Frank together, they were bigger than rock stars, they were the top.”

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The Playbill at our first tour stop in New York!

 

“Maria: When the first day of rehearsal at the Westchester Premier Theatre arrived there was an air of respectful anticipation backstage as everyone hurriedly prepared for the headliners as if history was in the making. We began to feel the weight of their celebrity. Was Frank in the building yet? Would Dean arrive first to break the mounting tension? I lingered around with the rest of the backstage workers to get a first peek

They both showed up for rehearsal in tuxes. Frank was a little more casual, he was wearing a black top coat instead of his tux jacket. They faced off onstage like two matadors in search of a bull.

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Two pros at dress rehearsal

Our first rehearsal with the orchestra ended up like a private audition for Frank Sinatra. When we assembled on stage we were told Frank wanted to see our act—so we gave it our best shot. Would he like us? Well, he loved us. I never remember Dean or any other star asking to see our performance before the audience arrived so this revealed a lot about Frank Sinatra.

Opening night, some of us Golddiggers were backstage sitting on the stairs having a little chit-chat. We were waiting for the stage manager to give us the cue to take our places in the wings before the show. All of a sudden we gazed up to the top of the stairs—standing in the archway was Frank Sinatra. He had a powerful aura, he wasn’t a big man but he was bigger than life. Of course, we were speechless. He broke the silence by wishing us a good show and told us to “get that audience all worked up for us.” Wow, it felt like the king had arrived and was addressing his court.”

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The Dean Martin Golddiggers with Frank Sinatra: Clockwise from the bottom are Robyn Whatley-Kahn, Maria Lauren (Alberici Sisters), Joyce Garro, Frank Sinatra, Patti Pivarnik-Gribow, Linda Eichberg (Alberici Sisters) and Peggy Gohl.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

“Elaine Bissell, Reporter Dispatch, White Plains, N.Y., May 18, 1977:

The pre-curtain arrival of celebrities, including Gov. Carey, former New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and even the beautiful Barbara Marx Sinatra, caused a flurry of excitement in the crowded theater as they settled down in the first row center, but the real thunder of applause and shouts from the adoring fans came when first Mr. Martin appeared and swayed precariously through a number of songs and then Mr. Sinatra, who simply walked on stage as though strolling to the corner to mail a letter—and the roof seemed to fall in.

For the next hour the flash of cameras and streaking ladies dashing down the darkened aisles to the stage to throw or hand flowers to the two singers in the spotlights was like half of an army choreographed in a ritual dance, while the other half sat with dazed faces and roaring with approval, with love, with worship, or moaning then shrieking with hysteria when either one walked anywhere near the edge of the stage.” – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, all rights reserved.

FRANK SINATRA – “I Love My Wife”

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Excerpt from BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

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“Linda: At the start of our run newspapers all over the country ran photos of Dean and Frank performing together on stage again, The Rat Pack was back and we were right in the thick of it. Frank was the Chairman of the Board and he traveled with his kingdom wherever he performed…”

“Frank’s wife Barbara was around a lot to watch rehearsals, she was very elegant and regal. Barbara even instructed one of the girls on how to apply her makeup in a more glamorous fashion. Barbara gave her some marvelous tips. We learned a lot about presence, Frank had a regal bearing and so did Barbara. They knew who they were, who was in their kingdom and who wasn’t. They projected a feeling of being very secure in themselves.”

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“Maria: Frank added the song ‘I Love My Wife’ from a show of the same name that opened in New York that summer. I never heard anyone sing it but Sinatra, the song had beautiful lyrics that meshed perfectly with Frank’s musical arrangement, artfully penned by Nelson Riddle. The sweeping violins from that lush, full orchestra Sinatra had at his fingertips filled my heart with emotion. The song took on a life all its own since Barbara was present for some of the tour. They were practically still newlyweds after all. I’m sure she appreciated Frank’s sentimental nod to her, a tribute to their love for each other.”

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“Pat Cooper, comedian: Sinatra had an entourage of people who
thought he was Jesus Christ. I’m talkin’ about tough guys who bent
down for this guy. I mean, this guy had an army of people that
adored him, “Hey, Frank, I love you Frank. Mention me to Frank.
Tell Frank I’m outside. Tell him I loves him.” Not one of them were
men, not one of them were men if you know what I’m talkin’ about.”

“Maria: Frank was the master chess player, the manipulator of the chess board. One night he invited us all to dinner in a lovely private room backstage. The beautifully appointed tables were situated outside the receiving area where we spoke with his wife Barbara before we were seated. She looked stunning with her hair pulled back, accentuating her perfect features. When it was time for dinner the bodyguards were close by and escorted us to our tables…” – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

 

© Copyright 2012 – 2013

Brothers of the Super Bowl – Sisters of the Super Stars!

What are the odds? Two brothers are coaching the dueling teams in the Super Bowl game. The San Francisco 49ers coach, Jim Harbaugh competes against the Baltimore Ravens coach, John Harbaugh.Brothers of the Super Bowl

Musically, the Super Bowl started with a touching rendition of “America the Beautiful” by the Sandy Hook Elementary School Choir with Jennifer Hudson taking the lead to give it a gospel feel. Then, Alicia Keys gave a respectful rendition of the ”National Anthem” with a touch of jazz influence using just her voice and piano. The half-time was spectacular starring Beyonce. The production had an abundance of flashing lights, special effects and ‘girl power’; shortly after there was a power outage.

When the lights were all turned on, Baltimore took the win, a sweet victory for Raven’s star linebacker, Ray Lewis, who after 17 years is retiring. At the game conclusion, the brothers spoke the words, “I love you… congratulations.”

Love goes deep in families and sibling rivalry is natural but the competition can help us to be the best we can be.

~~~

Excerpts from “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams”

Maria and Linda: “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.”

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Dean Martin with The Alberici Sisters: Linda Eichberg & Maria Lauren

Maria and Linda: “Working with Dean was a safe haven for us and we continued performing with him until he retired in 1991.

Those were the happiest of times. We also felt Dean’s profound loss as he dealt with the tragic death of his son and we were there when Dean shared the details of his falling out with Frank Sinatra.

Looking back, it was a blessing to have each other to share this journey. There were many more adventures to challenge us and surprises beyond our wildest dreams but those are stories for another day.”

~~~

My sister, Linda Eichberg and I had the good fortune to entertain with super star legends as The Golddiggers and open for Dean Martin in Las Vegas until his last years before retirement. Dear to our hearts are the times in between our performances. We were like family sharing laughs, sorrows and tender moments.

Wishing you joyful moments. ~ Maria Lauren (aka) Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio