Jay and the Americans singer Jay Black, who sang the group's smash hit recording of "This Magic Moment," died on Friday. Black, who was born David Blatt and earned the nickname "The Voice," was 82. Black was the group's second "Jay," as the first was John "Jay" Taylor, who sang on the group's first single.
"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," reads a statement on the group's Facebook page. "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." Black's family told Rolling Stone he died from complications of pneumonia. He also suffered from dementia in recent years.
Jay and the Americans were formed in the late 1950s and scored their first big hit, "She Cried" in 1962, with Traynor as the lead singer. However, he left the band after two more singles failed. Black replaced him and took up the stage name "Jay Black."
Black, who was born in Brooklyn, was the lead singer on the rest of the group's biggest hits. These included "Come a Little Bit Closer," "Cara Mia," "This Magic Moment" and "Walkin' in the Rain." "This Magic Moment," first recorded by the Drifters, was a smash hit for Jay and the Americans in 1969, selling over 1 million copies. The group also appeared on many of the hit musical and variety shows of the 1960s. In 1966, they were featured in Universal's comedy Wild Wild Winter.
Jay and the Americans broke up in 1973, but Black continued performing as Jay Black until 2017. In 2014, Black told Forward he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. At the time, he said he was deeply in debt and the IRS was garnishing 15% of his social security check. "The record company didn't pay us a lot of money," he recalled in 2014. "The big thing is when you have a big hit you work a lot and you make a lot of money. But I was always a gambler and I pissed away everything. I never saved my money. I helped a lot of people. I helped my family, but I really screwed up my money."