* Jay Traynor

Posted on January 10th, 2014 · Music/Events/Other


* Jay Traynor.

On January 2, 2014 Jay Traynor aged 70-passed away.

For the record, Jay was the original lead singer of Jay & The Americans—his hauntingly melodic voice resulted in the song “She Cried” in 1962 reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the hit, Jay Traynor left the group for a solo career and was replaced in 1963 by David Blatt who took the stage name Jay Black. In recent years, Jay Traynor was a member of Jay Siegel’s Tokens -famous for the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” For you Rock n’ Roll buffs, before joining the Americans, Jay Traynor was a member of The Mystics of “Hushabye” fame and after leaving Jay & The Americans was involved in a number of solo projects as well as management/ production of groups such as Mountain and Yes. A little known fact, the group’s producers originally wanted to name the group Binky Jones & The Americans but at Jay Traynor’s urging settled for Jay & The Americans.

Jeff Eats’ “connection” to Jay Traynor dates back to November 3, 1974, that’s right some 40 years. It all started when as a young associate I joined the law firm of D’Amato, Costello & Shea, at 116 John Street, in New York City. It seems like it was only yesterday, that senior partner Joe Costello- in showing me around the office -introduced his secretary saying… “Jeff, this is my personal secretary- Marian Traynor, by the way her son “is” Jay of Jay & The Americans.” Just so you know, by 1974, Jay & The Americans was an iconic east-coast Rock n Roll band–with numerous charted singles.

Over the ensuing years, I must have seen Jay Traynor, Jay & The Americans, The Tokens, Jay Black, Jay Siegel-performances at least 30-times…and each and every time my mind’s eye…”Jeff, this is my personal secretary-Marian Traynor, by the way her son “is” Jay of Jay & The Americans.”

Let me close by saying…

For whatever reason, that-long ago Joe Costello “introduction”- piqued my interest in Rock n Roll music-and lead to an entertainment business career.

Jay, Joe, Marian…rest in peace!

10 Comments to “* Jay Traynor”

  1. glenn r says...

    nice story jeff.
    I saw the tokens about a year ago at parker playhouse and they were terrific. jay traynor did a great job as a token and nobody ever sang she cried better than he did.

  2. KMJ1948 says...

    She Cried definitely the best song that the group had. Though this Magic Moment is pretty good to.

  3. Al Caplan says...

    Very nice story and moving tribute. I had several friends from my home town County (Rockland, NY) who grew up in The Bronx and remained friends with Jay Siegel of the Tokens. They appeared at our country club and were wonderful.

  4. Leon H says...

    Very nice tribute.
    I saw The Tokens last year and they put on a fabulous show. Of course Jay Traynor also sang She Cried. He still had a wonderful voice.

  5. GGH1943 says...

    Have been a member of the NY Bar for over 47 years.

    I must say that D’Amato, Costello & Shea was one of the best law firms that I ever had the privilege to oppose. The firm was as reputable as they come. Top notch partners and associates. Eventually a split resulted in D’Amato & Lynch and Shea and Costello also outstanding firms. Joe Costello, Mort Shea and George D’Amato were prime examples of top notch lawyers.

    • R. Rowson says...

      Indeed they were. Had the privilege of working for the firm before (and after) the split for several years.

  6. Ron G says...

    I remember when you started a company called Siggy Mixers in 1971. For 2 years you ran single dances and shows usually at the Forest Hills Country a Club. One particular event I recall was The 5 Satins inside followed by The Grass Roots outside by the pool. I also recall that you sold the company to ComeTogether Mixers in 1973 when you graduated.
    Nice tribute to Jay Traynor.

  7. LarryB says...

    The man had a beautiful voice.
    She Cried was actually the B side with the A side being a song called Dawning.
    She Cried was a magnificent song. Absolutely as you wrote, haunting.
    No question in my mind the group’s best record.

  8. Sam 32 says...

    Until I read your column I had thought that Jay Black was the original lead singer and didn’t know about Traynor. After reading I went to YouTube and found a load of videos on Traynor and for the first time appreciated that there was a different lead on She Cried.
    Traynor had a gorgeous voice much different than Black’s over the top sound.
    I just wonder if Traynor had stayed with the group if they would have had all of the other hits that they did with Black?

  9. hal m says...

    jeff, just read here about jay traynor. so sorry to hear about his passing. just saw him last year in nj with the tokens. he had a great voice.

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