Johnny Nash, Singer of “I Can See Clearly Now,” Dies at 80

The most iconic Johnny Nash single has appeared in dozens of films and TV shows.

On Tuesday, singer-songwriter Johnny Nash, most known for his 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now,” died in his Houston home at the age of 80. No cause of death has been revealed.

Nash was born and raised in Houston but moved to Jamaica in 1965. Bob Marley and the Wailers introduced him to the local scene, and soon, signed Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Rita Marley to a publishing contract. He would later create his own label along with Arthur Jenkins and Danny Sims, JAD Records. In 1968, he scored his first pop hit with “Hold Me Tight.” The song peaked at number five on the Billboard charts.

Inspired by the sound of the local scene, in 1972, he released the reggae-influenced “I Can See Clearly Now.” The song spent a month at the number-one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, and would be used in TV shows and films like Thelma & Louise, Grosse Pointe Blank, Crooklyn and The Boondocks.

Nash himself earned four acting credits in film and television. Back in 1959, he played the lead role in Take a Giant Steps, one of the first Black family films written by a Black writer. The following year, he appeared alongside Dennis Hopper in the crime drama Key Witness. In 1971, he and Marley co-composed the score for a Swedish romance film, Want So Much To Believe. Nash also starred in the movie.

Johnny Nash is survived by his son Johnny Jr., daughter Monica, and wife Carli Nash.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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Torry Threadcraft

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