[To see our much more detailed article on Johnny Maestro, the Crests and
Brooklyn Bridge, that appeared in Echoes of the Past magazine, click
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of one
of the great lead singers in R&B, Doo Wop and Soul music history. Johnny
Maestro of the Crests and Brooklyn Bridge died of liver cancer on Wednesday
March 24, 2010. He was 70 years old.
The Crests (J. T. Carter, Talmadge Gough, Harold Torres and
Patricia Van Dross, began singing in the Alfred E. Smith Projects on the lower
east side of New York City. They soon fell under the management of a
"Mr. Morrow" who is said to have had a connection to the Five Keys. Mr.
Morrow brought the group together with a new lead singer, Johnny Mastrangelo,
from Mulberry Street in the Little Italy section of NYC. The group was
integrated (three African Americans including a woman, a Hispanic and an
Italian American), a rarity for the mid-1950's.
Early photo of the Crests, Johnny Maestro in
Early photo of the Crests, Johnny Maestro
second from left
The Crests were singing on the subway when they
caught the attention of a woman rider. She handed them a business card
for her husband, band leader and producer Al Browne. Al soon had the
group recording for his Joyce label with songs like "My Juanita" and "Sweetest
Early Crests' recording
Patricia Van Dross, older sister to Luther Van
Dross, left the group because she didn't want to tour. The Crests moved
on to the Coed label where they scored with hits like "16 Candles," "Trouble
In Paradise," "The Angels Listened In," and "Step By Step."
Crests Picture Disc LP
Johnny Maestro left the Crests to go solo in
the late 1950's. By the late 1960's Johnny Maestro had joined with some
former members of the Del Satins and their band to form the Brooklyn Bridge.
The group became huge with hits like "The Worst That Could Happen," "Welcome
Me Love," and "Blessed Is The Rain."
Johnny continued singing with Brooklyn Bridge
until his illness forced him to step down earlier this year. At the time
of his passing, Johnny was living in Cape Coral. FL.
One of the greatest lead singers of our music
has now been silenced. RIP, Johnny.
Copyright © Classic Urban Harmony LLC, 2010. All