Johnny Nash, the pop and reggae singer whose song “I Can See Clearly Now” topped the charts in the US and UK in 1972, died Tuesday. He was 80 years old.
His son Johnny Nash Jr. confirmed the death to the Associated Press and said his father died of natural causes at his home in Houston. No specific cause of death was given.
Although it may be seen as a successful marvel by many, the Nash website refers to “I can clearly see now” as “the singer’s comeback,” as the 32-year-old has been recording, sometimes painting since late Fifties of the last century, when he was 17 years old.
Born in Houston, Texas, John Lester Nash Jr. grew up singing in church. He came across the style that was to be his biggest success when he traveled to Jamaica in 1968, where he met Bob Marley, Peter Touche, and Bunny Livingston. He funded their recordings for his private label, JAD, without success. However, his transition to the same genre with “I Can See Clearly Now” – which he wrote and produced himself – was a huge success, earning a gold medal and providing him with a four-week race for first place in the United States.
“I Can See Clearly Now” was a hit back in 1993 when Jimmy Cliff recorded it for the soundtrack to the song Cool Runnings; It reached # 18 and was the highest-grossing American song for a Jamaican musician.
Other people who covered the recorded tune included Ray Charles, Gladys Knight and the Peps, Grace VanderWaal, Hothouse Flowers and the punk band Screeching Weasel. It was recently reposted in U.S. Bank commercials.
It can be argued whether “I Can See Clearly Now” was a real reggae song, but his interest in the genre was clear and true, he even covered three songs by his friend Bob Marley on the album released under this title – he shared a fourth writing with him, “She Spilled Sugar on me. “
Danny Sims, his business partner, told the Houston Chronicle in 2012: “Johnny liked reggae, and he liked Bob and the guys. He taught Bob how to sing on the microphone, and they taught Johnny how to play the rhythm of reggae.”
In April 1973, very young Cameron Crowe made a profile of Nash for the soon-to-be-ending Zoo World article, an archived article on the Crowe website. “I didn’t really understand that vanity about it … in connection with an action I want to do , ” Nash told the young journalist. “Because what I want to do is be a part of this work and express myself and have some kind of acceptance by making people happy. I’ve had a kind of freedom for most of my career to sign up and do what I love to do. Now it’s being accepted … The final form of acceptance is the first record and everyone. That is a great feeling … But that does not mean that I will go on a big ego musical journey. “
As an Independent Head of Brand with JAD, regardless of his interests in reggae, Nash was the first to sign the group Cowsills.
Nash also worked early in his career, appearing in the 1959 screen version of the black-themed play “Take a Giant Step,” followed by a role the following year in “Key Witness,” where he appeared alongside Dennis Hopper. Song for the 1960s cartoon show, “The Mighty Hercules”.
Taking advantage of his regular television appearances in Houston starting at the age of 13, he released his debut single, “Teenager Singing Blues” in 1956. It did not chart, but the following year, “A Very Special Love” achieved number 27 nationally. After a series of more minor hits, he finally reached the top ten in 1968 with his single Hold Me Tight, which peaked at number five. His recording career caused a commercial slump again until “I Can See Clearly Now” made him a household name. It landed one of the 20 other top songs after that the following year with a cover from Marley’s “Stir It Up.”
His last studio album “Here Again” appeared in 1986 and he produced the Swedish song “Rock Me Baby”.
In 1993 Johnny Nash built an indoor circuit in Houston, which hosted rodeos before becoming a BMX track in 2002.
Nash has refused all interview requests for many years. “I have the impression that he’s largely retired and not very interested in reliving the past,” said Andy Bradley, engineer at Sugarhill Studios, where Nash was said to have been working on his old tapes in recent years. “But he’s been polite about it. He’s a very nice guy and one of my favorite people I’ve ever met.” Sims was added in the same 2012 Chronicle story – in which a reporter tried to track down Nash and failed to track him down: “He made that decision and no one could talk about it. Turn away and walk away. It wasn’t easy to do.”
Besides his son, Nash has also survived his daughter Monica and wife Carly Nash.