Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Crests

The CrestsI like The Crests. They emphasize the melody, the romance. They were a mixed-race group; their lead singer was Johnny Maestro who was Italian. After a few years with the group he went solo and had a few hits, and then he disappeared until 1969, when he reappeared as lead singer of Brooklyn Bridge, a kind extreme version of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap.

The collection here, just called The Crests as far as I remember, I found on a rather plain looking cassette, that was at Mr. Sound. I’ve seen similar collections by other artists, very obviously not legit, which makes me wonder how they could sell it in a legitimate commercial outlet like Mr. Sound. It’s impressive, the only song missing is Sweetest One which was released on the Joyce label (no I’ve never heard of it either) in 1957. All 9 of their top 100 Coed singles are here.

The Crests:

16 Candles – The wonderful idea of teenage romance in all its glory, with a birthday cake to boot. The singer is totally, completely, hopelessly infatuated. The title was borrowed for a movie a few decades later, and, you know, I liked the movie. Molly Ringwald was in it. The song, it was as hit in the early part of 1959.
A Year Ago Tonight – This came out a year later, clever. It is a sequel, but not a copy. Seems that his love was requited after all. This was, indeed, from the early part of 1960, though it did not quite make the top 40.
Six Nights A Week – A song, it seems, about withholding. The scenario is this: he can’t see her, except at the Saturday dance, every week. He is frustrated. But she, apparently, will have it no other way. Hard to get, maybe, too hard. From the spring of 1959.
The Angels Listened In – This one swoops and soars, appropriate for the heavenly subject matter. Johnny’s prayers worked wonders, and the angels answered his prayers. Gotta love it. From the fall of 1959.
Gee – This is not The Crows hit. They slow things down here, and it’s a syrupy, saccharine a bit even, but the strings come, subtle, and how can you resist…
Step By Step – A relationship reduced to a formula, but I don’t believe it. He’s making it up. From the spring of 1960.
Journey Of Love – Not an original idea so much, but not one you find much in pop music. A bit simple of course, as it’s presented, but what can you expect. From the fall of 1960.
Trouble In Paradise – Those same angels that listened in are now called to rescue an ailing relationship. From the summer of 1960.
Earth Angel – A not bad white-boy cover of The Penguins hit from 1955.
Flower Of Love – She loves me, she loves me not. From the summer of 1959.
Isn’t It Amazing – Another paean to the wonder of being in love. This was their last hit; it reached number 100 for 1 week. That was in the fall of 1960.
Pretty Little Angel – The last track on the collection is a bit more uptempo, a bit more R & B. Not to be confused with Pretty Little Angel Eyes by Curtis Lee.

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