Jay Black, the frontman for American ’60s rock group Jay and the Americans who sang such hits as “Cara Mia,” “This Magic Moment” and “Come a Little Bit Closer,” has died. He was 82. No cause of death was revealed.
Given his skills as a singer, Black would come to be referred to by his bandmates and by fans as “The Voice.” His passing was confirmed in a post published on Saturday to the band’s official Facebook page. “Today, we mourn the passing of David Blatt a/k/a Jay Black and we acknowledge the great successes we had with him both as a partner and as a lead singer,” a spokesperson wrote. “We shared both wonderful and very contentious times, and much like an ex-wife, we are so proud of the beautiful children we created. We’ll always remember The Voice.”
Born as David Blatt on November 2, 1938, in Brooklyn, he joined Jay and the Americans as lead singer in 1962, stepping into the role previously occupied by John “Jay” Traynor. With Black, the group piled up three top 10 singles with “Come a Little Bit Closer,” “Cara Mia” and a version of the Drifters’ 1960 hit “This Magic Moment.”
Traynor sang lead on the group’s first hit, “She Cried,” which reached No. 5 in 1962.
Jay and the Americans was at the height of its output in the mid-1960s, additional top 20 hits with “Let’s Lock the Door (And Throw Away the Key),” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Sunday and Me” and “Walkin’ in the Rain.” The group’s Black-fronted albums included Come a Little Bit Closer, Blockbusters, Sunday and Me, Livin’ Above Your Head, Try Some of This! and Sands of Time. Its Greatest Hits reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200 in 1965.
The group officially disbanded in 1973. Before that, Black and his collaborators would appear on numerous music programs and variety shows, including Upbeat, Hullabaloo, Shindig!, Where the Action Is, The Merv Griffin Show, The Clay Cole Show and The Mike Douglas Show.
Black continued performing after the breakup of his band — all the way up to 2017. Outside of music, he was also an occasional actor, appearing in Lennie Weinrib’s 1966 film Wild Wild Winter, and in William A. Graham’s 1977 TV movie Contract on Cherry Street, starring Frank Sinatra.
Plans for a memorial have not yet been disclosed. The announcement from Jay and the Americans can be found below.
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