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Cara Mia by Jay & the Americans

Album: Very Best Of Jay and The AmericansReleased: 1965Charted:
4
  • Written by the Italian composer Mantovani (the title means "My Beloved), this was a huge UK hit in 1954 for a British singer named David Whitfield. Mantovani's string orchestra played on his version. The song also did well in America, leading to appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and making Whitfield one of the first British singers to make an impact in the US. As a result of the song's success in America (it was a million seller), Whitfield became the first ever British male singer to be awarded a Gold Disc.
  • The first lead singer of Jay & the Americans was Jay Traynor, who was replaced by Jay Black (not really a Jay - his real name is David Blatt). Original group member Kenny Vance explains: "When Jay Traynor left the group, Jay Black came over to one of the guys' houses. He was selling shoes for Thom McAn making $60 a week, and he drove up with an old car, with a rope holding the hood down, and he came in the house and he had that song in mind, because I think he thought that the original guy that did that was David Whitfield, and he sang it on the Ed Sullivan Show. That version, there's a bridge to it, there's a whole kind of different feeling to it. Like in a Johnny Cash movie, because we only knew three or four chords ourselves, those are the four chords we played to it, and it became a rock and roll song. We left out the bridge because we couldn't play it. And that was it, he loved the song. We would do it in our show for many years, and then finally I think in '65 when our contract was sold to United Artists, they decided to record it, and it became a smash." (Read more in our interview with Kenny Vance.)
  • Shortly after this was released, radio station WTRY in New York aired a "special version" in which lead singer Jay Black (real name: David Blatt) held the long note near the end of the song for over a minute, then continued without missing a beat.
  • This went to #1 in Holland when it was re-released in 1980. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 2)
  • Although the writers of this were listed as Lee Lange and Tulio Trapani they were in fact Bunny Lewis (Whitfield's producer) and Mantovani (his arranger). Lee Lange were Lewis' wife's father's Christian names. He used a pseudonym because he was working for Decca and he was afraid rival companies might not record them.
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Comments: 16

On July 28th 1965, Jay & the Americans performed "Cara, Mia" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...Two months earlier on May 30th, 1965 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 at position #77; and on July 25th, 1965 it peaked at #4 {for 1 week} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...Between 1962 and 1970 the group had eighteen Top 100 records; four made the Top 10 with "Come A Little Bit Closer" being their biggest hit, it reached #3 on the chart in 1964...They just missed having a fifth Top 10 record when "Let's Lock The Door" peaked at #11 in 1965.R.I.P. John Traynor, the original Jay, {1943 - 2014} and Jimmy O'Neill {Shindig's host, 1940 -2013}.Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
What a powerful & stunning recording. I bought the single, as I did other earlier Jay & The American hits in the Sixties. Yep, I was a true fan and still am. Jay Black/Dave Blatt has a treasure of a voice! By the way, has anyone heard the results of the lawsuit against him by the IRS? It's a shame they're hounding him this way. This group brought so much happiness to we baby-boomers in the Sixties.Rotunda - Tulsa, Ok
Wow just a majestic song. Jay had,still has a voice in the Roy Orbison realm. There's nearly a operatic grandeur to it. The music behind the voice is perfect. Very classy.Meocyber - Alma, Co
My friend Slim Whitman has recorded 2 versions of Cara Mia. Google Slim Whitman Collectors InternationalLoren - Oro Valley, Az
I am jon r. Benson and I have been singing Cara Mia ever since it came out in the same key. I am still singing it and as good as ever. I am 76 and still singing, Long note and all. Cheers mates.
Jon r. Bullhead city, Arizona
Jon R. Benson - Bullhead City, Az
Artists like Jay Black make Cara Mia an out-of-body-experience...which we all need ...taken regularly gives us life worth living. My only wish was that Roy Orbison would have recorded it Montovani style as he did Pretty Woman in Black on White.
"O"
Orlando - Long Island New York 11978, Ny
Cara Mia is mine and my grandfather's favorite Jay & The Americans song!!Jj - Washington, Dc
There was a freshness bordering on innocence in the early 60's. Simple and straightforward lyrics that have had me humming for too many years. Sure as hell miss you guys Jay!Bill - Originally Toledo, Oh
I just love the song and since my name is Cara - it is a bonus. Keep up the great work David (Jay)Cara - Floral Park, Ny
"Cara mia" is also an Italian phrase roughly meaning "my beloved".Tony - Topeka, Ks
I've been a Jay and the Americans fan since the very beginning.Starting with the original "Jay Traynor"(SHE CRIED),to David Blatt aka Jay is Back!
(lost his right to use Jay Black).They are both still thrilling audiences with their voices,especially Jay Traynor who is singing with the tokens now.I think we should be proud that the music is still alive!
Bill - North Babylon, Ny
It would be a shame if David Blatt was unable to use his stage name,afterall he is the one who put the group on the top ten lists.I have been listening to him sing for 40 years now and still have not heard one entertainer that can match his voice.Char - Bridgeport, Ct
David Blatt is not the original lead singer of Jay and the Americans. John Traynor was. He left the group in 1962 to work with Phil Spector.
David Blatt is being sued in Central Islip, New York bankruptcy court for debts owed the state and IRS. There is the possibility the name Jay and the Americans can be sold to pay off debts; and David Blatt will be barred from using the name Jay Black (which he has used for over 40 years.)A decision will be made in the coming weeks.
Donna Pacholek Lindenhurst, New York
Donna - Amityville, Ny
An avant-garde version of this was recorded by Negativland for their first, eponymous album in 1981. Accompanying hismelf with a synthesizer, Don Joyce (I think) whispers the lyrics. Possibly due to the cheap production, this version is reminiscent of ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears".Ekristheh - Halath, United States
Dan Ingram at WABC in New York City was also known to play the version with the "long" high note. In actuality, the note was edited together multiple times on tape until it was more than a minute in length.Clarke - Pittsburgh, Pa
"Cara Mia" was also recorded by the Swedish group The Shanes and was a hit in Sweden in 1968(or 1967; I'm not 100% sure if it was in '67 or 68'). henning.halvorsen@met.noHenning - Oslo, Norway