The Crests are a legendary doo-wop group formed in 1955, in Manhattan, New York. The original Crests consisted of J.T. Carter, Talmoudge Gough, Harold Torres and Patricia Van Dross, the sister of the late singer/composer Luther Van Dross. They enlisted a singer who would become their lead vocalist in 1956, Johnny Mastrangelo. Johnny was born on May 7, 1939, he became known to the world as Johnny Maestro.
The Crests were discovered one day in 1956 while singing on a New York subway. A woman clearly impressed with their talent approached them on the train and handed them the business card of Al Browne and claimed theat she thought he could help them. They never knew that the lady on the train was Al Browne’s wife.
The group hurried to call him. Al Browne brought them in to audition and by June of 1957 The Crests were recording. They recorded two songs at the tiny Joyce Records studio that was run out of the back of a record shop. Al Browne’s combo providing the music. The songs were two originals, written by Johnny Maestro, they are MY JUANITA and SWEETEST ONE. MY JUANITA is the up-tempo side and SWEETEST ONE the ballad side.
The record label put SWEETEST ONE as the “A” side. The ballad is one of the groups most beautiful tunes, with a wonderful vocal (as always) by Johnny and the tight vocalizing of The Crests. Most of the people in the music business at the time were pushing for MY JUANITA to be the “A” side, but Joyce Records put their money on SWEETEST ONE. On July 15, 1957 SWEETEST ONE made its Billboard Top 100 debut. The single charted at #86 and stayed on the Top 100 for 2 weeks. MY JUANITA did not chart, but what did happen was amazing. MY JUANITA became the standard rehearsal tune for every street-corner group. The song is a doo-wop classic and is listed as one of the Top 1,000 Doo-Wop songs of all-time by writers Gribin/Schiff in their book “The Complete Book Of Doo-Wop”. WCBS-FM in New York listed MY JUANITA at #69 on their list of the “101 Doo-Wop Songs Of All-Time”.
The Crest congregated at Johnny Maestro’s house waiting to hear themselves on the radio. Alan Freed was the first to play both sides of this classic recording. The Crests are honored by rock n’ roll historians as a major force in the rock and roll vocal group era. Through the years, The Crests music continues to bring joy to new audiences and brings back memories of the “GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL” to their loyal legions of fans throughout the world. 1957 was just the beginning of the fabulous recording career of The Crests and the beginning of the legend that we would come to know as JOHNNY MAESTRO.
Till the next time-Joe