Legendary singer Johnny Nash has reportedly died from natural causes in his home in Houston earlier today, at the age of 80.
The singer was best known for his beautiful run of form during the late 1960s to early 1970s when his motivational feel-good song “I Can See Clearly Now” topped many charts across the world. Other popular songs from Nash during that time were “Hold Me Tight,” “You Got Soul,” and an early version of The Wailer’s “Stir It Up.”
Nash, who in his later years battled ill health, started his journey in the music and entertainment industry from an early age. During his teenage years, he recorded covers of popular tracks, leading to his own show at the age of 13 on Houston television as well as an appearance on The Arthur Godfrey Show. With much wind beneath his sails and at least a decade of musical experience, he would then go on to start his own label JAD Records, with his manager and business partner Danny Sims. The Jamaican reggae group Wailers became one of the label’s first signings. Nash and The Wailers would later record “Reggae On Broadway,” among other songs, meanwhile taking on shows during their Nash’s tour of Europe to support “I Can See Clearly Now.” According to reports, the popular song was written by Nash while he was recovering from cataract surgery.
While the song was never tapped for a Grammy nomination, it has become something of a cult favorite. It has seen new life been brought to it by the likes of Ray Charles and Donny Osmond to Soul Asylum and Jimmy Cliff. Cliff’s version was featured in the 1993 movie about Jamaica’s journey to the winter Olympics, Cool Runnings. The song has also found commercial success through its use in multiple commercials for window cleaners as well as eyewear.
Nash is currently survived by his son Johnny Nash Jr, his daughter Monica and his third wife, Carli Nash.