82-year-old Jay Black, lead vocalist of Jay and the Americans, a 1960s pop group, has passed away in Los Angeles. On Saturday, the band released a statement on Facebook informing fans of the singer’s passing.
A statement from the band said, “Today we grieve the passing of David Blatt a/k/a Jay Black and we acknowledge the amazing triumphs we had with him both as a partner and as a lead singer. “We had both fantastic and tumultuous moments together, and like an ex-wife, we are immensely proud of the lovely children we raised together. The Voice will remain a fond memory for all of us.” According to his bandmate Sandy Deanne, David Blatt, a.k.a. Black, died on Friday as a result of complications from pneumonia, according to the AP.
His crooning, doo wop-inspired voice made him popular as “The Voice” during the 1960s. He replaced Jay Traynor as the lead singer of Jay and the Americans, and adopted the group’s stage name of Jay. The spelling of his surname, Blatt, was accidentally changed to Black. In 2014, he revealed to The Forward that he had appeared on the Mike Douglas show. “If you’re wondering what my last name is and you just said something like Blatt, you’re not alone. Then he asked, “Black?” Yes, that was a tiny white lie of mine. The name, on the other hand, was a huge hit. Mike Douglas passed away without realizing he had referred to me by name.”
In addition to “Come a Little Bit Closer,” the group also recorded “Only in America” and “Cara Mia,” all of which included Jay’s honeyed vibrato. In addition to his distinctive voice, Black was well-known both on and offstage for his dry sense of humor. “As far back as the early days of our career, if you were good at the clubs you played,” Black recalled to The New York Times in 1994. But I was gifted in some way. Maybe I’d be able to make some folks chuckle.”
As a solo artist, Black performed until 2017, more than 40 years after the band split up. When he was taken to bankruptcy court in 2006, he had to stop performing under the Jay and the Americans band name, which allowed the band to reorganize with a new singer, but he could still perform under the name Jay Black. Back in 2006, he claimed that was his legacy. When I’m gone, this is what I’ll leave behind,” he said.