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Johnny Nash, singer of ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, has passed away aged 80

Johnny Nash, the musician behind the iconic ’70s hit I Can See Clearly Now, has sadly passed away at the age of 80.

American reggae and pop musician Johnny Nash has passed away at his home in Houston. His death was confirmed to CBS Los Angeles by his son.

The man behind the ubiquitous 1972 hit I Can See Clearly Now, he was also one of the first artists to bring reggae to the US.

johnny nash

Johnny Nash grew up in Houston and began singing as a child at Progressive New Hope Baptist Church. As a teenager, he covered R&B hits on a local variety show called Matinee. At 17, he signed a major label deal and released his debut single, A Teenager Sings the Blues.

Yet it wasn’t until the following year, in 1958, that he scored his first official chart hit with a cover of Doris Day’s A Very Special Love. In 1965, his single, Let’s Move and Groove Together, also garnered some success, reaching the Top 5 of the Billboard R&B charts.

However, Nash’s real claim to fame came seven years later, in the form of I Can See Clearly Now. In the years prior, Nash had moved to Jamaica and there, immersed in the local reggae scene, he spent some time with Bob Marley. It was during this period that Nash gained some of the sonic influence which he later incorporated into his hit single. Upon its release, I Can See Clearly Now sold over one million copies and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for four weeks.

In 1976, Nash released a cover of Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World, followed by Let’s Go Dancing in 1979; however, he decided to move away from public life in the years following. In 1986 he released another album, Here Again, before once more retreating. Allegedly, during 2006, Nash was spotted recording in studios around Houston, as well as trying to convert some of his ’70s and ’80s analog tapes into digital formats. However, there has been no word on that since.

Tributes have flowed in for the late musician.