Artist Details

Jay & the Americans

Though they had a bunch of hits across the 1960s, Jay & the Americans were a throwback to a previous era in their doo wop-influenced vocals, neatly groomed, short-haired appearance, and mix of pop/rock with operatic schmaltz. Built around the neck-bulging upper-register vocals of David Blatt aka Jay Black, their biggest hits -- "She Cried," "Cara Mia" (which you could, in the second half of the 1970s, just imagine Eddie Mekka's Carmine Ragusa, aka "The Big Ragu," singing on Laverne & Shirley), "Come a Little Bit Closer," and "Let's Lock the Door (And Throw Away the Key)" -- came off as sort of hit parade versions of West Side Story. The group also relied on outside songwriters for its material, drifting into MOR covers of oldies by the end of the '60s, and was generally a sort of textbook of unhipness during a time when self-contained rock bands were becoming the norm.