Jake Coyle
Film writer and critic

Jay Black, singer for Jay and the Americans, dies at 82

October 24, 2021 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Black, front man for the 1960s rock band Jay and the Americans, who crooned the soaring vocals to hits like “This Magic Moment,” “Cara Mia” and “Come a Little Bit Closer,” has died. He was 82.

The band announced the death of Black, born David Blatt, in a statement Saturday. Jay and the Americans bandmate and vocalist Sandy Deanne said Black died Friday from complications of pneumonia. Rolling Stone reported that Black had suffered from dementia in recent years.

“We shared both wonderful and very contentious times, and much like an ex-wife, we are so proud of the beautiful children we created,” the band said in a statement. “We’ll always remember The Voice.”

Black joined Jay and the Americans in 1962, replacing the group’s first singer, Jay Traynor. One of their biggest hits was a cover of the Drifters’ “The Magic Moment.” It reached No. 6 on the Billboard charts and sold more than 1 million copies.


After the group disbanded in 1973, Black continued as a solo performer up until his last concert in 2017. During their heyday, Jay and the Americans regularly performed on variety TV series. Black also appeared in Frank Sinatra’s 1977 made-for-TV film “Contract on Cherry Street.”

Black for years performed under the name Jay and the Americans but after filing for bankruptcy, sold the name to Deanne, whose real name is Sandy Yagunda.

Black is survived by four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.