‘I Can See Clearly Now’ singer Johnny Nash passes away

October 07th, 2020

Singer-songwriter Johnny Nash, who was most known for his hit “I Can See Clearly Now,” died at the age of 80 years old. His son, John Nash Jr., confirmed the death to the Associated Press and stated that his father died of natural causes, at home in Houston. No specific cause of death was given.

Born in Houston, Texas, Nash made his debut in 1957 with the single “A Teenager Sings the Blues.” But it wasn’t until his early 30’s that he accomplished worldwide fame with his hit song “I Can See Clearly Now,” which topped the charts in 1972, lasting for four weeks. 

Rest In Peace, Johnny Nash. 🎼 🙏🏽💔 pic.twitter.com/VhiewIV0en

— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) October 7, 2020

Nash and Danny Sims formed JAD Records, and while living in Jamaica, the duo signed Bob Marley and other members of the group, The Wailers. 

Nash was also known for his other hit songs like  “You Got Soul” and “Hold Me Tight,” and is credited with helping jumpstart the career of Bob Marley. 

“Johnny loved reggae,” Sims told the Houston Chronicle back in 2012. “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,” Sims added. 

Nash was also an actor, who appeared in Take a Giant Step in 1959 and Key Witness in 1960 in which he appeared alongside Dennis Hopper, and he sang the theme song for a cartoon show, “The Mighty Hercules.”

Capitalizing on regular TV appearances he made in Houston at the age of 13, Nash released his first single, “A Teenager Sings the Blues” in 1956. It did not reach the chart, but the following year, “A Very Special Love” did, reaching 27th place worldwide. After a series of minor hits, he finally reached the top 10 in 1968 with “Hold Me Tight” which peaked at No. 5.  

His recording career was slowly going downhill until “I Can See Clearly Now” made him a household name. He had another top 20 hit after that the following year with a cover of Marley’s “Stir It Up.”

His last studio album, “Here again,” appeared back in 1986 and produced a Swedish hit, “Rock Me Baby.

Nash built the Johnny Nash Indoor Arena in Houston in 1993, which hosted rodeos before becoming a BMX track in 2002. 

Nash turned down all interview requests for several years. 

“I got the impression he was pretty much retired and not very interested in reliving the past,” said Andy Bradley, an engineer with SugarHill Studios, where Nash was known to be working on transferring his old tapes in recent years.

“He made this decision and no one could talk him out of it. He walked away and stayed away. That’s not easy to do,” Sims shared. 

POP! Creator Community / Alexandra Del Mundo

INQPOP! Stories we think you might also like: