Black’s family confirmed that the singer died Friday night from complications from pneumonia. In recent years, Black also suffered from dementia.
The Brooklyn-born Black (born David Blatt) joined Jay and the Americans in 1962, taking over for the band’s first singer, Jay Traynor. Following the 1963 single “Only in America,” Black’s soaring vocals featured on the band’s Top 10 hits “Come A Little Bit Closer,” “Cara Mia” and “This Magic Moment.”
Jay and the Americans also notably served as the opening act for the Beatles’ first U.S. concert in 1964 in Washington, D.C.
The band first split up in 1973, at which point Black embarked on a lengthy solo career; prior to that, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were both members of Black’s touring unit before forming Steely Dan.
Black’s family continued, “New and old fans continued to marvel at the strength and range of Black’s voice through his last concert in 2017. 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.
While Jay and the Americans reformed in 2006, they did so with a third “Jay” singer. “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 current iteration of Jay and the Americans wrote on Facebook. “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.”