One of the most successful integrated doo wop groups, the Crests waxed the classic ballad “16 Candles” in 1959. Formed in 1956, they began recording the next year for Joyce, where they inched onto the pop lists with “Sweetest One.” Moving to the brand-new Coed logo, Johnny Maestro’s (b. May 7, 1939) warm tenor made “16 Candles” a national smash, and pop/R&B hybrids like “The Angels Listened In” and “Step by Step” also did well. Maestro went solo in 1960, scoring the next year with “Model Girl” on Coed, while the Crests attempted to survive on their own. Maestro eventually reclaimed stardom as leader of Brooklyn Bridge, an 11-piece aggregation that hit with “Worst That Could Happen” in 1968.
– Bill Dahl