Archive for March 25th, 2010

25th March
written by Matt The Cat

Johnny Maestro

1939 – 2010

One of the greatest voices in music passed away on the evening of March 24, 2010 in Florida.  He had been battling cancer for quite some time.  The music of Johnny Maestro reached everyone who has ever turned on a radio.  From his oldies staples with The Crests: (“Sixteen Candles,” “The Angels Listened In,” “Trouble In Paradise,” “Isn’t It Amazing” and “My Juanita” to his late 60s rock masterpiece “The Worst That Could Happen,” we’ve all been touched by his powerful yet angelic voice. 

I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Johnny Maestro back in 2006 and he was a first class interview.  He cleared a few things up during our time together.  It’s been printed in many rock n’ roll history books that he was born in Brooklyn, but in fact, Johnny was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  You can hear my entire interview with Johnny Maestro by clicking on my “radio interviews” page or listen to the podcasts at the bottom of this page.

My first Live encounter with Johnny Maestro happened during the hot summer of 1995.  It was a Saturday Night, mid-summer and I was sitting in my hot, non-air conditioned apartment in Boston’s North End.  An Italian Feast was going on outside, but I can’t remember which saint was being honored.  I was playing records and trying to keep cool, when in-between albums, I heard an angelic sound echoing off the city buildings.  It sounded like the voice was singing “The Angels Listened In.”  Could it be…THE Johnny Maestro?  I ran down three flights of stairs and out front to find that the REAL Johnny Maestro was standing atop a bandstand at the fire station across Hanover St. from my apartment.  My jaw dropped and for the next thirty-five minutes I listened to the incredible sound of Johnny Maestro. 

I told Johnny that story when I interviewed him in 2006 and we had a good laugh over it.  He didn’t remember the actual event, only to say that he played many Italian Feasts in both New York and Boston.  All I can say is that it was a magical night for me and one that I will never forget. 

 Fellow New York doo wopper and music ican, Dion DiMucci posted this statement on his Facebook page.

My Dear Friend ” JOHNNY MAESTRO” passed away today….. Last week we had wonderful & lovely conversations about our Lord. Johnny was a class act. He was truly a gentleman. :::…We will miss him. He sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” like an angel….
Rest in peace, Johnny Maestro.  Now the angels can hear you front and center.  They don’t need to evesdrop anymore. 

-Matt The Cat

icon for podpress  Matt The Cat Interviews Johnny Maestro - Pt. 1 [15:54m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

icon for podpress  Matt The Cat Interviews Johnny Maestro - Pt. 2 [14:15m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download