Reggae icon Johnny Nash dies at 80, fans say his song ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ got them through desperate days

Nash made his major label debut in 1957 with the single ‘A Teenager Sings the Blues’ and he was also one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica


                            Reggae icon Johnny Nash dies at 80, fans say his song ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ got them through desperate days
Johnny Nash (Getty Images)
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It is going to be a sad day in the history of music as hours after rock icon Eddie Van Halen died from his long downhill battle with cancer, we also lost singer Johnny Nash. American reggae icon Johnny Nash, who was best known for his 1972 hit single ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, breathed his last on October 6, as confirmed by his son to the publication CBS Los Angeles. The pop music singer-songwriter was 80-years-old. Nash was reportedly in "declining health" for the past few months and is survived by his wife, Carli, and son, Johnny Jr.

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Nash was born in Houston and made his major label debut in 1957 with the single ‘A Teenager Sings the Blues' and after came his first chart success with a cover of Doris Day’s 'A Very Special Love' in early 1958. Nash's 1972 hit single ' ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ remained at the top of the chart for four weeks with the singer saying that the song was one "of hope and courage for individuals who have experienced adversity in their lives but have overcome it."

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He happened to chance upon reggae that would provide his greatest success when he traveled to Jamaica in 1968, where he met Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. He even covered three songs by Bob Marley on the album that came out under that title — co-writing a fourth with him, “You Poured Sugar on Me.” He was also one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica.

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According to Variety, the singer also took up acting early in his career with roles in the 1959 screen version of the play 'Take a Giant Step' and a year later in 'Key Witness'. He also lent his voice for the theme song of a 1960 cartoon show 'The Mighty Hercules'. Nash had minor hits in between after the 1972 single and then one more top 20 hit after that with a cover of Marley’s “Stir It Up.” He had withdrawn from the spotlight majorly by then. His last studio album, “Here Again,” appeared in 1986 after which he produced a Swedish hit, “Rock Me Baby.”

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As soon as the news of his death hit the Internet, his followers across the world shared their condolences on social media.  

One user stated, “RIP kindred soul. Turning all of this to the positive is the order of the day. Here’s a song for you… I Can See Clearly Now - Edit by Johnny Nash” One shocked fan said, “OH MY GOD, NOOOOOOO!!!! I JUST GOT THE WORD FROM JAY LAMONT THE COMEDIAN THAT JOHNNY NASH, THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO SING OVER REGGAE INSTRUMENTALS IS DEAD!!!! GOD COME ON.” Another user added, “What a horrible day! First Eddie Van Halen and now Johnny Nash. Rest in power.”

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One follower tweeted, “These 70s musicians keep dying in twos. Last week Helen Reddy and Mac Davis died the same day. Today Eddie Van Halen died. And now we’ve lost Johnny Nash, Best known for his 1972 number one hit, I Can See Clearly Now.” One fan posted, “So sorry to hear that Johnny Nash has passed away. His voice was beautiful. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.. #RIPJohnnyNash” Another individual added, “F**K 2020 UNREAL. This song alone has gotten me thru more desperate days than I can count in my time here on this planet. 'I Can See Clearly Now' Singer Johnny Nash Dead at 80”

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Nash’s lyrics from his major career hit ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ were among his most famous lines ever. “I can see clearly now the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles on my way/Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, It’s gonna be bright..”

Rest in Peace.

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