Johnny Nash, who topped the charts in 1972 with “I Can See Clearly Now,” has died at 80. His son, John Nash III, told TMZ that he died at home of natural causes.
“He was a wonderful father and family man.” Nash III said. “He loved people and the world. He will be missed within his community. Family was his everything.”
Nash had a career spanning four decades. He started out in the late ’50s singing vocal jazz and pop standards for a major label. Nash sang the theme song for a 1960s cartoon series called The Mighty Hercules. By the late ’60s he was doing pop soul and reggae. When “I Can See Clearly Now” hit #1 on the Billboard charts, it stayed there for four weeks.
He’s considered to be a one-hit wonder, but the song made him an international sensation. The Houston-born singer was one of the first non-Jamaicans to record reggae in Jamaica.
In the 1960’s, he founded JAD Records with Danny Sims. In the 1990’s, they got the chance to sign Bob Marley & the Wailers and released several compilations of selections from their catalogue. Sims told the Houston Chronicle in 2012 that “Johnny loved reggae. And he loved Bob and the guys. He taught Bob how to sing on the mic, and they taught Johnny how to play the reggae rhythm.”
There have been several covers of the “I Can See Clearly Now,” but the most famous is Jimmy Cliff’s 1993 version from the Cool Runnings soundtrack. According to Billboard, it hit #11 on the charts just over 20 years after the original’s success.