Published Oct 07, 2020Johnny Nash — the singer who gifted the world with the song "I Can See Clearly Now" — has died. Nash passed away in his Houston home of natural causes on Tuesday (October 6), his son revealed. Nash was 80.
Born on August 19, 1940, Nash started his life in music while he was a teenager, starting out in the mid-1950s by both singing in the church choir and covering various standards. One of his very first hits was a cover of Doris Day's "A Very Special Love," but by the end of the decade, Nash began branching out.
Nash soon began running a record label and developed deep ties with Jamaica, working with the likes of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. In fact, Nash was seen as playing a big role in helping launch the career of Bob Marley and was one of the first artists to help bring reggae to American audiences.
In the '60s and '70s, Nash had a series of his own hits, including "Hold Me Tight" and "You Got Soul," as well as an early version of Marley's "Stir It Up." Then there was, of course, "I Can See Clearly Now," which arrived in 1972.
Upon release, "I Can See Clearly Now" topped the charts and went on to become Nash's million-selling anthem and signature song. Though the song never secured Nash a Grammy, it went on to have a major cultural impact over the years. Not only was it covered by other artists like Ray Charles, Donny Osmond, Jimmy Cliff and even '90s alt-rock act Soul Asylum, the song would go on to appear in multiple blockbuster films, including Cool Running and Thelma and Louise.
"I feel that music is universal. Music is for the ears and not the age," Nash told Cameron Crowe, then writing for Zoo World Magazine, in 1973 [via the Associated Press]. "There are some people who say that they hate music. I've run into a few, but I'm not sure I believe them."
Nash continued to work in music throughout the '80s, though he never managed to capture the same success of "I Can See Clearly Now." By the '90s, he had largely left the music industry, with his final album Here Again coming out in 1986.
Outside music, Nash had a big love for horses, and he lived on his family ranch in Houston, where he also managed rodeo shows at the Johnny Nash Indoor Arena.
Nash is survived by his son Johnny Nash Jr., as well as daughter Monica and wife Carli Nash.