EXPIRED: 03/24/10 – Johnny Maestro, 70, was still a teenager when he hit the bigtime – he was just a kid from Mulberry Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan who stayed out of trouble by performing on the streets in Doo Wop groups. One – called the Crests – were a bunch of street kids who ended up getting a recording contract. They recorded a single, a song called “Beside You” that went nowhere. But the B-side was a little song called “16 Candles.”

Ever hear of it?

Of course you have – but you might never have heard of it had Maestro not have changed the name from the original version “21 candles” figuring the new title would appeal to a younger female audience. He was right. The song took him and the band to #2 on the charts.

The Crests continued to record, and Maestro perfected his vocal charms with hits like “Trouble in Paradise,” “The Angels Listened In” and “Step by Step.”

A few years after the Crests broke up and a solo career faltered, Maestro joined the group The Brooklyn Bridge and became famous all over again, especially for the #3 hit version of Jimmy Webb’s heartbreaker “Worst That Could Happen.”

The worst for Maestro ended up being cancer.



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