Words and Music By: Luther Dixon and Allyson Khent
The Crests were a New York R&B doo-wop group, formed by bass vocalist JT Carter in the mid 1950s. Their most popular song, "16 Candles," rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1959, selling over one million copies, earning a gold disc. The interracial group had three black members (one female), one Puerto Rican, and one Italian-American.
Founded by JT Carter, the group included Talmoudge Gough, Harold Torres, and Patricia Van Dross, (older sister of R&B great Luther Vandross). Carter selected vocalist Johnny Mastrangelo (shortened to Johnny Mastro and later to Johnny Maestro) as lead vocalist. Maestro's recorded vocal style became instantly recognizable, and a juke box favorite of national teen audiences. Maestro's quality vocals, great song selections, and recordings, with dance-easy beats, made 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. In the late 1950s, the Crests appeared and performed on several national teen dance television shows to include the Dick Clark show.