Johnny Nash, ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ singer, dies at 80

Johnny Nash, the singer of the hit song I Can See Clearly Now, whose song topped the charts in 1972, died on Tuesday.

This news was officially confirmed by his son, Johnny Nash Jr., to the Associated Press, who said that his father died of natural causes at his home in Houston. However, there was no specific cause of death given.

A peek into his career

Nash began his career as a singer when he was a child in the church in Houston, Texas, where he was born. Being a teenager, he participated in a local variety show where he sang R&B covers. And in his late teens, he made his major-label debut with 1957’s A Teenager Sings the Blues.

Over the next years, his cover of Doris Day’s A Very Special Love made his first charting single. Nash continued to release various singles and bagged another chart hit with 1965’s Let’s Move and Groove Together.

Nash became famous for his hit song I Can See Clearly Now, which topped the charts in 1972 in the US and UK.

The song returned to the radio when Jimmy Cliff’s cover was featured in 1993’s Cool Running. Nash began his career recording pop songs in the late 1950s and later traveled to Jamaica, where he founded JAD Records with Danny Sims.

When I Can See Clearly Now hit the charts in 1972, Nash was in his early 30s and had lived several business lives show back then. Ten years later, he was co-running a record company where he had become a rare American-born singer of reggae and helped to launch the career of his friend Bob Marley.

I Can See Clearly Now

Nash sold more than 1 million copies of the single that made him an international star, especially in Jamaica, where he became one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae.

I Can See Clearly Now, reportedly written by Nash while recovering from cataract surgery, was a story of him overcoming hard times and that itself raised the souls of countless listeners, with its pop-reggae groove, promising of a “bright, bright sunshiny day.”

Nash and Sims went ahead, signed Bob Marley and the Wailers, and Gloria Gaynor, and Jimmy Cliff. Johnny adored reggae, and he loved Bob and the guys.

Sims told the Houston Chronicle in 2012 that he taught Bob how to sing on the microphone, and they taught Johnny how to play the reggae rhythm.

Image courtesy of Evening Standard/YouTube Screenshot

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