Jay and the Americans singer Jay Black has died of complications from pneumonia. He was 82.
Black’s family confirmed that he passed on Friday night (Oct. 22). In his final years, Black, who performed his last concert in 2017, also suffered from dementia.
“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,” read a statement published on Jay and the Americans’ Facebook page on Saturday. “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.”
In the 1960s, Black joined the rock band, taking over for original singer Jay Traynor.
Black recorded a series of hits with Jay and the Americans, including “Come a Little Bit Closer” (which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, in 1964) “Cara Mia” (peaked at No. 4, in 1965) and “This Magic Moment” (peaked at No. 6, in 1969).
Jay and the Americans were the opening act for the Beatles at their very first U.S. concert in 1964, in Washington, D.C.
The band parted ways in 1973, with Black moving forward with his career as a solo artist. He also enjoyed a short stint as an actor, with a supporting role in Frank Sinatra’s Contract on Cherry Street in 1977; Black portrayed the character of Tommy Sindardos in the made-for-television film distributed by NBC.
Black often performed as a solo artist in the tri-state area and in Florida. He held an annual gig at New York’s Westbury Music Fair, a theater on Long Island.
He is survived by four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.