Artist of the day: Tommy Mara and the Crests
Like so many vocal groups of the ‘50s and ‘60s, The Crests haven’t really been The Crests for years. The original lineup, famous for the hit 16 Candles, splintered decades ago, and singer Johnny Maestro died in 2010.
But for a time before he died, Maestro lived in Spring Hill, where he befriended Tommy Mara, a longtime admirer of groups like the Flamingos, the Platters and, yes, the Crests. Mara had been handling lead vocals for a version of the Crests headlined by founding member J.T. Carter. Eventually, Mara and Carter negotiated a deal to let Mara continue with the Crests’ name. Maestro gave the new group his blessing. Ever since, they’ve been known as Tommy Mara and the Crests.
You can still find Mara performing regularly around Tampa Bay, especially at benefits and festivals. On Saturday, Tommy Mara and the Crests will perform at the Palladium in St. Petersburg during a Toys for Tots fundraiser, alongside The Mystics, Johnny Thunder, The Impacs and more. Tickets are $30-$100. Click here for details.