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Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now” Singer, Dead At 80

Johnny Nash | Image: New York Post / Getty Images

American singer-songwriter Johnny Nash, best known for his 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now”, has died. He was aged 80.

The Texas-born pop and reggae star died at his home in Houston on Tuesday, his son Johnny Jr. told the CBS Los Angeles TV station.

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Nash was one of the first non-Jamaican artists to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica. He rose to the top of the US Billboard chart with “I Can See Clearly Now”, and his 1975 hit “Tears on My Pillow” reached number one in the UK rankings.

Born John Lester Nash, Jr. in Houston, Texas, he began as a pop singer in the 1950s. In the 60s, Johnny Nash and Danny Sims formed the JAD label, the pair would go on to sign Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh after traveling to Jamaica in 1968, according to Nash’s website.

Nash’s 1972 reggae-influenced single “I Can See Clearly Now” sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in November 1972.[12] “I Can See Clearly Now” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 4, 1972, and remained atop the chart for four weeks, and also spent the same four weeks atop the adult contemporary chart.

The song returned to the Billboard charts when it was recorded by Jamaican reggae star Jimmy Cliff for the 1993 “Cool Runnings” movie soundtrack. Cliff’s version made it to No. 11 on the Billboard charts.

Nash has four acting credits in film and television. In 1959, he had the lead role as Spencer Scott in Take a Giant Step, directed by Philip Leacock, one of the first black family films written by a black writer. In 1960 he appeared as “Apple” alongside Dennis Hopper in the crime drama Key Witness. In 1971, he played Robert in the Swedish romance Vill så gärna tro.

His son told the TMZ website: “He was a wonderful father and family man. He loved people and the world. He will be missed within his community. Family was his everything.”

Nash is survived by his wife Carli and son Johnny.

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