Johnny Nash, known for his 1972 hit song “I Can See Clearly Now,” died at 80 years old Tuesday morning of natural causes at his home in Houston; his son, Johnny Nash Jr., told The Associated Press.
Although Nash began his career as a pop singer in the 1950s, covering “Darn That Dream” and other standards, he gravitated toward reggae music and became one of the first artists to bring the genre to the U.S.
He joined forces with his manager Danny Sims to form JoDa records in 1964 in New York. Although they filed for bankruptcy after two years, they found success once they moved to Jamaica. After Sims sold his entertainment assets in New York, he opened a music publishing business called Cayman music. After meeting Bob Marley& The Wailing Wailers they introduced Nash to the local music scene, and in return, he signed all four members to an exclusive publishing contract.
The Houston-native first made his breakthrough in the late 1960s and early 1970s with “Hold Me Tight,” “You Got Soul,” and arguably his most memorable song, “I Can See Clearly Now.” According to The Associated Press, Nash wrote the song while recovering from cataract surgery. The song speaks on overcoming difficult times and promise of a “bright, bright sunshiny day.”
“I think I’ve achieved gratification in terms of the people I’ve had the chance to meet. I never won the Grammy, but I don’t put my faith in things of that nature,” he told The Gleaner in 1998. “A lifetime body of work I can be proud of is more important to me. And the special folksy blend to the music I make, that’s what it is all about.”
We’re sending our prayers and condolences to his family during this time.