Jay Black, lead singer of the 1960s pop-rock band Jay and the Americans, has died at 82.
The Brooklyn-born vocalist's family confirmed to Rolling Stone that he died Friday of pneumonia. He had also suffered from dementia in the years leading up to his death.
Black joined Jay and the Americans as lead vocalist in 1962, taking over from the band’s first singer, Jay Traynor, and went on to feature in the group’s Top 10 hits "Come A Little Bit Closer," "Cara Mia," and "This Magic Moment."
Black, whose real name was David Blatt, also performed with the band when they opened up for the Beatles during their first U.S. concert in Washington, D.C., in 1964. Jay and the Americans broke up in 1973, effectively launching Black's successful solo career.
"New and old fans continued to marvel at the strength and range of Black’s voice through his last concert in 2017," his family said in a statement to Rolling Stone. "Appearing mostly in the tri-state area and Florida, Black’s concerts were heavily attended and mostly sold out.
"He had a special bond with his fans who flocked to his annual sold-out shows at The Westbury Music Fair. He thought of them as family, knew many of their names, and would dedicate songs to them from the stage and meet with them after the show."
Jay and the Americans would later reform but with a new singer, who also went by the name of "Jay." The group paid tribute to Black in a statement on Facebook.
"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," the post read. "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."
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