Born November 2, 1938, Jay Black began his music career by writing songs. After hearing some of his songs,
he was asked by a record company to record the songs "No More" and "Forgive Me." Because Jay suffers from stage
fright, he preferred to write and produce records which he did for the next few years.
In 1962, Jay and the Americans who had had a hit song "She Cried," with another lead singer were desperately seeking a
replacement. Jay stepped forward with his unique and powerful voice. With Jay as lead singer, Jay and the Americans
charted a string of hits on the United Artists label, including "Only In America," "Come A Little Bit Closer,"
"Cara Mia," "This Magic Moment," and "Walkin' In The Rain." (See the
discography pages for a listing of all the singles and albums released.) During the group's
heyday, they made countless television appearances, on shows such as Shindig, Hullabaloo,
Where The Action Is, Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Red Skelton, and
Sammy Davis, Jr., and in 1966 were featured in the movie "Wild, Wild Winter" singing
"Two of a Kind." Jay and the group were the opening act for The Beatles' first appearance
in the United States, and they went on to open for The Rolling Stones and other top British
acts. In spite of the British invasion, Jay and his boys carried the American flag almost
single-handedly through the 1960's with 21 chart singles.
One of the group's hits "Sunday and Me" was the first hit song written by Neil Diamond thus
launching his career. The group also takes credit for signing two unknowns -- Walter Becker
and Donald Fagen -- to become their backup band. Becker and Fagen later went on to become the
Grammy-award winning Steely Dan.
In the 1970's casting director Renée Valenti saw Jay perform and, on a hunch, asked him to
read for a movie she was casting called "Contract on Cherry Street," which starred Frank
Sinatra in his only made-for-TV movie. Being a singer, Jay went up for the role cocky and
not caring, and he began to change all the dialog while reading. The casting director,
producer and director were so impressed that Jay landed the role of a hit man over 2000
actors trying for the same role.
Because of contractual difficulties with the record companies, Jay decided he would focus on
being an entertainer instead of a recording artist. This decision has paid off handsomely.
To quote Jay, "I'm an entertainer who happens to sing." And sing he does, being given the
title "The Voice" which once belonged to Frank Sinatra!
Jay Black continues to tour and play to sold-out audiences. Their stirring
performance of "Cara Mia" on the 2001 PBS show "Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop" has generated a
resurgence in popularity for the group, and Jay Black has earned the nickname "The King of
Westbury" for his unparalleled record of sell-out concerts at New York's Westbury Music Fair,
which is the number one venue of its size.