Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, November 26, 2016


(I'm late with this.  It should have been posted Thursday, but Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Normally, I'm  distracted by bright shiny things, but this time I was distracted by turkey and pie.  C'est la vie.)

The Crests were a doo-wop group (and the first interracial vocal group in the United States) formed in the late Fifties by J. T. Carter, with original members Talmadge Gough, Harold Torres, Patricia Van Dross (sister of Luther Vandross), and lead singer Johnny Mastrangelo, who changed his name first to Johnny Mastro, then to Johnny Maestro, but sometimes recorded as "Johnny Masters."  The group's first hit was 1957's "Sweetest One," followed the next year by "16 Candles," which soared to number 2 on the charts.

As with many other groups, the line-up kept changing.  Patricia Van Dross left the group in 1958.  Johnny Maestro left in 1961, later forming the group Johnny Maestro and the Crests,and then became the lead singer for the Del Satins.  Tony Middleton came in to take over the lead, but his one single failed to hit the Top 100 -- a first for the group.  Lead vocals were then taken over by James Ancrum.  Gough left the group and was replaced by Gary Lewis (no, not that Gary Lewis).  According to Wikipedia, "By the late 1960s, Torres was gone;" whether he left the group or died is unclear.  Carter, Ancrum, and Lewis continued with the group until 1978 when the group disbanded and Carter moved on the The Drifters.  He reformed the group in 1980 with an entirely new line-up and, in the late Nineties he sold the trademark "The Crests' to Tommy Marasciullo (a.k.a Tommy Mara) who has continued the group.  This year Carter formed a new group as J.T. Carter's "Crests," performing to a sold out crowd.

Whatever the line-up, whatever the name, The Crests produced some great music.

"The Angels Listened In"

"16 Candles"

"Sweetest One"

"It Must Be Love'

"Earth Angel"

"Step by Step"

 "In the Still of the Night"

"My Juanita"

"No One to Love"

"Did I Remember"

"Paper Crown"


  1. One of my favorite groups. And let's not forget Maestro's work with the Brooklyn Bridge.

  2. I agree, a terrific group. Thanks for the rundown.