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The Crests (16 Candles)

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Uploaded on Dec 10, 2011

The band was founded by J. T. Carter and included Talmoudge Gough, Harold Torres, and Patricia Van Dross (older sister of R&B great Luther Vandross). Carter selected vocalist Johnny Mastrangelo (later just Johnny Maestro) to perform as lead vocalist for the group. Maestro's vocal style on the group's recordings became instantly recognizable and a juke box favorite of the national teen audiences. Maestro's quality vocals, great song selections, and recordings with dance-easy beats made the winning combination for charted hits. The group had several Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s on Coed Records, including "16 Candles", "Six Nights a Week", "The Angels Listened In", "A Year Ago Tonight", "Step By Step" and "Trouble In Paradise". They also charted with "Sweetest One" (Joyce label) in 1957. The Crests appeared and performed several times on national teen dance television shows in the late 1950s.

Van Dross left The Crests in 1958 after recording two singles for Joyce Records. Maestro left for a solo career in 1961. He would later join The Del Satins, which would merge with The Rhythm Method to become Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge. They had a Top 5 hit with "The Worst That Could Happen" in 1969. His place in The Crests was taken by new lead James Ancrum. The group recorded a new single, "Little Miracles". It was the first single not to chart in the Top 100. They also recorded "Guilty" (Selma label). Gough quit the group after the single, and was replaced by Gary Lewis (not to be confused with Gary Lewis of Gary Lewis & the Playboys fame). The group failed to find success throughout the decade.

Torres would also be gone by the late 1960s. The group continued as a trio of Carter, Ancrum, and Lewis. This lineup continued until 1978, when the group split. Carter went on to sing with Charlie Thomas' Drifters.

Carter then reformed the group in 1980. He auditioned over 200 singers, finally settling on lead Bill Damon, Greg Sereck, and Dennis Ray and New York drummer Jon Ihle. Carter continued the group well into the 1990s. He sold the trademarks to The Crests name to Tommy Mara in the late 1990s. Mara was Carter's lead vocalist at the time, and now continues the group without Carter. Carter now performs as part of the three person group Starz. Lewis is now singing with The Cadillacs.

The 1984 John Hughes teen film, Sixteen Candles, took its title from The Crests' song, which was re-recorded by The Stray Cats for the Sixteen Candles soundtrack.

In 1987, Maestro, Carter, Torres and Gough reunited as The Crests for a reunion concert in Peekskill, New York.

Patricia Van Dross died in 1993 of complications from diabetes. Hal Torres is deceased, and Tommy Gough is living in Flint, Michigan.

Johnny Maestro, died Wednesday, March 24, 2010, at his home in Cape Coral, Florida. He was 70 and had lived in Islip, New York, until 2003.

In April 2010, the Los Angeles-based rights-management firm Beach Road Music, LLC, acquired the Coed Records catalog, subsequently re-releasing the Maestro song "The Great Physician" on the 2011 compilation album From The Vault: The Coed Records Lost Master Tapes, Volume 1. "The Great Physician" was originally released in 1960 as Coed 527, under the pseudonym "Johnny Masters".

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