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Johnny Nash, the singer who scored No. 1 on “I Can See Clearly Now”, passed away in 1972. He was 80 years old. His son Johnny Nash Jr. confirmed his death to the Associated Press, saying that his father died of natural causes at his home in Houston.
Along with his career in pop music, Nash had an amazing role in developing reggae music. As a JAD Records owner, he signed Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer an exclusive deal early in their careers.
Nash was born on August 19, 1940 in Houston. In the 1950s, he made a series of albums for ABC-Paramount featuring dreamy pop songs that highlighted his ever-beautiful voice, including his first graphic song, a cover of Doris Day’s 1958 “A Very Special Love”. In the 1959 movie Take a giant step.
By 1965, Nash and his manager, Danny Sims, had formed their own record label, which was first named JoDa and later renamed JAD (including the third partner, Arthur Jenkins). Two years later, Nash and Sims moved to Jamaica.
Nash recorded a number of his own aspects there – but most importantly, he heard a young singer named Bob Marley, whom JAD immediately signed a publishing deal alongside signing Marley’s trio, The Wailers, as recording artists.
However, JAD was unable to break reggae music in the US. In 1972, the brand sold Marley’s contract to Chris Blackwell and Island Records. But four songs Marley wrote appeared on the album I can see it clearly now: “Guava Jelly”, “Comma Comma”, “You Poured Sugar on Me” and the opening track of “Stir It Up”.
Nash never duplicated the commercial success of “I Can See Clearly Now” – a delightful, cheerful, and reggae-filled song written and later covered by musicians from Jimmy Cliff to Donny Osmond.
Nash released his last album, Here again, In 1986; It contained one song that went to # 47 on the UK Singles Chart. The singer withdrew from the field of music to a quiet life in Texas.