Sunday, November 6, 2016

Today's Featured Artist...November 6, 2016...The Crests (video + info + links)

The Crests

(Read all about The Crests after the video)


The Crests were an American doo-wop group, formed by bass vocalist J. T. Carter in the mid-1950s. Their most popular song, "16 Candles", rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1959, selling over one million copies, earning a gold disc.[1] The interracial group had three African American members (one female), one Puerto Rican, and one Italian American.


Founded by J.T. Carter, the group included Talmadge Gough (1939-2014), Harold Torres (deceased) and Patricia Van Dross (1943-1993) (older sister of R&B singer Luther Vandross). Carter selected vocalist Johnny Mastrangelo (1939-2010) (shortened to Johnny Mastro and later to Johnny Maestro) as lead vocalist. Maestro's vocal style became instantly recognizable, and a jukebox favorite of national teen audiences. His 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 the #2 hit, "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 Records) in 1957. In the late 1950s, The Crests performed on several national teen dance television shows, including American Bandstand and The Dick Clark Show.
After recording two singles for Joyce Records, Van Dross left The Crests in 1958. Maestro left for a solo career in 1961. He recorded with other backup singers under the name "Johnny Maestro & The Crests", producing a single for United Artists in 1962, two singles for Cameo Records in 1963-64, a single for APT Records in 1965, a single for Scepter Records in 1965 and three singles for the Parkway label in 1966. He later joined The Del Satins as their lead singer. They merged with The Rhythm Method in March 1968 to become Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1969 they had a #3 hit with "The Worst That Could Happen". In 1962, The Crests recorded a new single, "Little Miracles", with Tony Middleton singing lead. It was their first single not to chart in the Top 100. James Ancrum then took over the lead, recording "Guilty" (Selma Records) and several other songs. 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). Subsequently, the group failed to find success throughout the decade.[2]
By the late 1960s, Torres was gone. The group continued until 1978 as a trio of Carter, Ancrum and Lewis, when the group split. Carter went on to sing with Charlie Thomas' Drifters.
Carter reformed the group in 1980, auditioning over 200 singers, finally settling on lead Bill Damon, Greg Sereck, Dennis Ray and New York drummer Jon Ihle. The group continued well into the 1990s. Carter sold the trademark "The Crests" to Thomas Marasciullo (singing as Tommy Mara) in the late 1990s. Mara now continues the group without Carter. In 2016, Carter continued his legendary career performing as J.T. Carter's "Crests", based on provisions of the Truth in Music Act. Carter's new group include Ken Boulden, formerly of Solid Gold, and Richard Merritt formerly of The Marcels. J.T. Carter's "Crests" held their first concert in Upland, California on July 16, 2016 to a sold out crowd and received standing ovations. [3]
Carter has had a new level of recognition in recent times. On November 12, 2013, he was recognized on the Pennsylvania State House Floor by Speaker of the House, The Honorable Sam Smith and State Representative Rosemary M. Brown for a lifetime in music and as the first African American to form an interracial vocal group in the United States.[4] In 2013 Carter also appeared on the 1st Annual Palisades Park Reunion concert with Cousin Brucie aka Bruce Morrow,[5] broadcast live on SiriusXM satellite radio. Other performers included Neil Sedaka, Lesley Gore, Bobby Lewis and Ronnie Spector. In January 2014 Carter interviewed Joe Franklin on the Bloomberg Radio network. Carter is still performing throughout the US and Canada, at age 75 and has appeared with Charlie Thomas and his Drifters. As of 2012, publicist Erik A. Kroll,[6] is accredited with Carter's recent popularity and the music of the Crests reborn.[4][7][8][9][10] In 2014, Carter began production on American Classics, The Stars, Music and Cars, a TV show featuring the music and cars of the 1950s and 1960s, produced by Emmy Awards winner Ashley Russo.[11] In March 2015, Carter was accepted as a member in The Recording Academy aka the Grammys.
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, for a concert in Peekskill, New York, Maestro, Carter, Torres, and Gough reunited as "The Crests".
In 1993, Patricia Van Dross died of complications from diabetes. Hal Torres is also deceased.
Johnny Maestro lived in Islip, New York, until 2003. He died of cancer on March 24, 2010, at his home in Cape Coral, Florida. He was 70.[12]
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"[13] 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."
Talmadge "Tommy" Gough (born Talmadge E. Gough, October 15, 1939, Sardis, Georgia) died of throat cancer on August 24, 2014 in Flint Michigan. He was 74.[14][15]

Awards and recognition

The Crests were inducted into the United in Group Harmony Association (UGHA) Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Crests were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.
On May 9, 2012, Johnny Maestro was honored by the House of Representatives of the United States of America. Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, whose district includes the neighborhood where Maestro was born and where he began his music career, introduced an Extension of Remarks in the House of Representatives. This posthumous honor is now a permanent part of the Congressional Record. The Extension of Remarks includes the original members of The Crests.[16]
On November 12, 2013, J.T. Carter was honored by the Pennsylvania State House, Speaker of the House Sam Smith, and PA State Representative Rosemary M Brown, for his lifetime in the music industry and for being the first African American to form an interracial vocal group in the America. Carter was officially recognized on the state house floor.[4][7]
In 2014, Carter was honored with a lifetime achievement award from The Lehigh Valley Music Awards in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
In 2016 Carter along with Charlie Thomas of the Drifters and Ernest Wright of Little Anthony and the Imperials were honored in both House and Senate chambers at the State Capital in Dover, Delaware for their contributions to American Music declaring them "Rock-n-Roll Royalty". The three also met with Governor Jack A. Markell who presented them a special Gubernatorial tribute. (148th General Assemble, State of Delaware Senate Concurrent Resolution No: 53, March 22nd, 2016), (Sate of Delaware, Office of the Governor Tribute No: 160201)

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