Original Artist: The Crests
Original Album: Single (1959)
Historian: Charles Franz, Kazimierz O. Wrzeszczynski
The Crests were a late 1950s doo-wop group, whose 1959 “Sixteen Candles” was a national hit single. “Sixteen Candles” has appeared on innumerable compilation albums, has been covered by groups such as Sha Na Na, and was on the soundtrack for American Graffiti and in the 1984 John Hughes movie of the same name performed by the Stray Cats. The Crests’ other hits included “The Angels Listened In” and “Step by Step.” Singer Johnny Maestro went on to score another hit “Worst That Could Happen" with Brooklyn Bridge in 1968.
Phish covered “Sixteen Candles” once, during the New Year’s run on 12/29/96 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Mike Gordon stepped to the piano at the end of an instrument switch jam during “YEM,” sat down, settled in and shouted “SEX!” After a pause, it became apparent that it was actually the first syllable of “sixteen.” Cactus then went on to give a passable imitation of a psychedelic jamband member imitating a doo-wop singer.