Jay Black

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Jay Black
Jay and the Americans.png
Black (first from right) with Jay and the Americans in 1965
Background information
Birth nameDavid Blatt
Born(1938-11-01)November 1, 1938
Queens, New York City, U.S.
DiedOctober 22, 2021(2021-10-22) (aged 82)
Queens, New York City, U.S.
GenresRock and roll
Years active1960–2017

Jay Black (born David Blatt; November 1, 1938[1] – October 22, 2021) was an American singer whose height of fame came in the 1960s when he was the lead singer of the band Jay and the Americans. The band had numerous hits including "Come a Little Bit Closer", "Cara Mia", and "This Magic Moment".[2]


Black was born in Astoria, Queens and grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park.[1] In his later career, he was known for touring New York State and Florida, singing, mainly solo, and preceding his singing with a stand-up comedy routine. Jay and his brother spoke Yiddish fluently.[citation needed] In 1966, he recorded a Yiddish song "Where Is My Village" about the Holocaust. He had 4 children, one of whom is American musician and singer-songwriter Beau Black.[3]


Jay Black was the second, and more widely known, Jay to lead the band Jay and the Americans, the first being Jay Traynor. Black had previously come from the doo-wop group The Empires, where he had sung lead on their 1962 lone Epic Records single "Time and a Place" b/w "Punch Your Nose" (Epic 5-9527). He had previously used David Black as his professional name, but changed his first name to suit the band's existing name. He would later bill himself as "Jay Black and the Americans" after the original band had broken up.

In 2006, Black completed bankruptcy proceedings in Manhattan, after he accrued a $500,000 debt in back taxes to the IRS as a result of his gambling addiction. The IRS initially sought to force him to sell the rights to perform as "Jay Black" as well as the trademark for "Jay and the Americans" in order to satisfy his debt to the IRS. Black did, however, win a partial victory in the case, which granted him the right to continue to use the name "Jay Black", but he was required to sell the rights to perform as "Jay and the Americans". The trademark to "Jay and the Americans" was purchased by former members of "Jay and the Americans". He lost the right to perform as "Jay Black and the Americans" and later performed as "Jay Black The Voice". In 2011 Black performed for PBS showcasing his longstanding range at age 72. His final performance was in 2017.

Health issues and death[edit]

In a 2014 interview, he implied that he might have been suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, but that was not officially diagnosed.[4]

Black died from pneumonia in Queens on October 22, 2021.[1] At the time of his death, it was confirmed that he also had dementia.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Sandomir, Richard (October 24, 2021). "Jay Black, Soaring Lead Singer of the Americans, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  2. ^ "Cara Mia: The Best Of Jay Black CD Album". www.cduniverse.com.
  3. ^ "Jay Black, Soaring Lead Singer of the Americans, Dies at 82". nytimes.com.
  4. ^ Schleier, Curt. "How Jay Black Got Kicked Out of Yeshiva". The Forward.
  5. ^ Kreps, Daniel (October 23, 2021). "Jay Black, Jay and the Americans Singer, Dead at 82". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 23, 2021.

External links[edit]