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R.I.P. Jay Black, Frontman of Jay and the Americans Dead at 82

Singer of top five hits including "Come a Little Bit Closer" and Cara Mia"

Jay Black of Jay and the Americans
Jay Black of Jay and the Americans, photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
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    Jay Black, frontman of ’60s rock band Jay and the Americans, has died at the age of 82.

    According to Rolling Stone, Black passed away Friday, October 22nd, from complications of pneumonia. Black also suffered from dementia.

    Jay Black was born David Blatt in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park. After a short stint fronting the doo-wop group The Empires, he took over as lead singer of Jay and the Americans in 1962, replacing original singer John “Jay” Traynor. In joining Jay and the Americans, Blatt agreed to assume the professional moniker of Jay Black.

    Jay and the Americans saw a majority of their success with Jay Black singing lead. “Come a Little Bit Closer,” released in 1963, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. A second top 5 single followed in 1964 with “Cara Mia.” The band’s third and final top 10 single came in 1969 with “This Magic Moment.”

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    With the exception of Jay Black, the group’s members split in 1973 to pursue solo projects. Black continued performing as Jay and the Americans with a rotating cast of musicians.

    In 2006, Jay Black filed for bankruptcy due to gambling debts, and sold the naming rights to Jay and the Americans to former bandmate Sandy Deanne. Deanne subsequently reunited with Howard Kane and Marty Sanders, and enlisted a new singer for a third incarnation of Jay and the Americans. In his later years, Jay Black performed under the moniker “Jay Black The Voice.”

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