Jay & the Americans were the original “oldies” act. Organized at the transition of the 1950s into the 1960s, the group sounded like a throwback to that earlier decade, at a time when harmony vocal groups (at least those without some guitar wattage accompanying) them were already becoming old hat.
They seemed out of place for most of the 1960s with their short hair, neat clothes, and dedication to schmaltzy pop, but by the end of the decade were perfectly positioned for the so-called rock & roll revival.
Their initial line-up consisted of John “Jay” Traynor, Howard Kane, Kenny Vance and Sandy Deanne, though their greatest success on the charts came after Traynor had been replaced as lead singer by Jay Black. The group split in 1973.
In 2006, Jay Black filed for bankruptcy due to gambling debts, and his ownership of the name “Jay & The Americans” was sold by the bankruptcy trustee to Sandy Deanne (Black’s former band mate and original member of Jay & The Americans) for $100,000. With the name purchase, former members Deanne, Howard Kane, and Marty Sanders reunited, and recruited a sound-alike singer from Chicago, coincidentally nicknamed “Jay.” Thus, John “Jay” Reincke became the third “Jay” and the band returned to playing both national and international music venues. Their show covers the history of Jay and The Americans, acknowledging all three Jays and featuring all of the top hits in their original arrangements.
The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.