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Jay Black, lead singer of Jay and the Americans, dies at 82

The group had 21 charting hits and opened for the Beatles at their first US concert in 1964.

Jay Black (shown in this undated file photo) died Friday from complications of pneumonia. Black was the frontman for the 1960s pop group Jay and the Americans.
Jay Black (shown in this undated file photo) died Friday from complications of pneumonia. Black was the frontman for the 1960s pop group Jay and the Americans.
Sun-Times File

Jay Black, the frontman for the 1960s pop group Jay and the Americans, has died. He was 82.

According to a statement from his family, Black passed away Friday from complications of pneumonia. He also suffered from dementia in is later years, the statement said.

The band’s Facebook page posted a tribute to Black on Saturday, which read in part, “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.”

With his unmistakable, soaring/falsetto vocals on a string of hits in the 1960s including “Cara Mia,” “This Magic Moment” and “Come a Little Bit Closer,” Black was often referred to as “The Voice” by the group’s devoted fans.

Jay and The Americans, who opened for the Beatles in 1964 at their first U.S. concert appearance (at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C.), parted ways in 1973. Black continued to tour as a solo act; his final concert performance was in 2017.

Black was born David Blatt in 1938 in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the band in 1962 replacing former lead singer Jay Traynor.

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