1961 Johnny Mastro – Model Girl
The Crests featured one of the earliest integrated doo-wop vocal groups. Their early lineup included Italian American Johnny Mastrangelo as the lead singer, two African-American males, one African-American female (Patricia Vandross, Luther Vandross’ older sister), and a Puerto Rican singer.
The group signed with Coral Records and recorded four moderately successful singles (one of them reached #86 on the Hot 100), after which Patricia left the group and returned to school. Their next single turned into a huge hit in 1959, the million-selling 16 Candles.
The group had four more top forty singles in the next year. Trouble In Paradise was their last hit single in 1960. It reached #20 on the Hot 100 before fading away.
Coral released several more singles by the group in 1960, usually credited to The Crests With Johnny Mastro. None of those releases reached the Hot 100.
Beginning the next year, Johnny pursued a solo career with records credited to “Johnny Mastro, The Voice of the Crests.” He released Model Girl as his first single and it also reached #20 on the Hot 100 in 1961.
Johnny’s follow-up single peaked at #33, but that was his last solo single to chart in the top forty. He continued in the music business after changing his stage name to Johnny Maestro. In 1967, he joined the Del-Satins, and that group morphed into The Brooklyn Bridge and had a million-selling hit with The Worst That Could Happen.
The Crests continued recording without Johnny, but never again reached the Hot 100.
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