New York City-born Johnny Maestro (born John Peter Mastrangelo aka Johnny Mastro, Johnny Masters; May 7, 1939 – March 24, 2010) began his career in 1957 as the original lead singer of The Crests, one of the first interracial groups of the recording industry. Patricia Van Dross, older sister to famed R&B singer Luther Vandross, sang with Johnny Maestro while The Crests were signed to the Joyce Record label. Before The Crests signed with Coed Records, Patricia left the group because her mother didn’t want her 15-year-old daughter touring with the older guys. After a regional hit with “My Juanita”/”Sweetest One” on the Joyce label, he had three years of chart success with The Crests on Coed Records with “16 Candles”, “Six Nights A Week”, “Step by Step”, “The Angels Listened In”, and “Trouble in Paradise”.
Between “Step by Step” and “Trouble in Paradise”, Coed released a single “The Great Physician”/”Say It Isn’t So” under the name Johnny Masters.
Late in 1960, Maestro would leave The Crests for a solo career. Maestro was unable to reach his former chart heights with The Crests, but did have Top 40 hits with “What A Surprise” and “Model Girl” in 1961 as solo artist Johnny Mastro, “The Voice of the Crests” for Coed Records.
For his next three singles with the label, he was known as Johnny Maestro, the third spelling change for the label. None of those records charted and Maestro recorded for three different labels before recording with new backup singers (none from the original group) as Johnny Maestro & The Crests in 1965 and 1966, which produced four singles on two more labels.