84-Year-Old Sings a Naughty Original Song, Blows Everyone In Just A Few Seconds

Bykieu trang

Jun 11, 2024

Ray Jessel, at 84, would seem like an unlikely contestant to round out this season’s auditions for America’s Got Talent. And yet, NBC producers knew more than you.

In his pre-audition interview, Jessel told us that he only started performing at age 72.

After singing an original ditty he wrote and played on the piano stunned the audience and judges alike, Howard Stern told Jessel: “I’m really thinking you’re a breath of fresh air at 84 years old! When you first got up, I was kind of like, oh, he’s one of those acts that are a waste of time. I was going to buzz you, and then, all of a sudden, you kicked it with that brilliant lyric. And you know what? Good for you! You know? You’re a 84-year-old guy, you think 84-year-old guys have lost their sense of humor. You’ve got it in spades.”

What tickled their ivories so much? Take a listen to “What’s She’s Got” by Ray Jessel!

Heidi Klum asked if Jessel’s love gone wrong song really happened to him. Jessel claimed not quite, but yes “to a friend of mine.” Klum said his song was so catchy she worried her children would love it too much. “They’ll all be singing it tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.”

Jessel’s reply: “I like to write catchy tunes. They don’t write ’em like that anymore.”

He’d know.

Long before he began singing his own songs in cabarets in 2002, he’d been writing them for the biggest stars in music, TV and Broadway.

A Welshman by birth, Jessel earned a music degree from the University of Wales, then studied composition for a year in Paris before moving to Canada. He started as an arranger for a satirical revue there where he met and became songwriting partners with Marian Grudeff. They eventually caught the attention of producer Alex Cohen, who hired them to write a P.T. Barnum musical book first, before bringing them in to take over the score for the Broadway musical Baker Street in 1965.

Jessel’s next musical score with Grudeff was a revival of Hellzapoppin starring Soupy Sales in Montreal. That didn’t work. But their title song was recorded by both Jimmy Durante and Louis Armstrong.

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