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Reggae singer Johnny Nash dies at 80: Best known for “I can see clearly now” (bio, wiki, age, career, family, early life, death)

Johnny Nash, reggae singer best known for I Can See Clearly Now, dies aged 80

Johnny Nash bio, wiki, age, early life, education, family, career, death, twitter

Singer Johnny Nash, known for the 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now,” died Tuesday. He was 80. His son confirmed his death to CBS Los Angeles, noting he passed at home. Nash died the same day as guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who had been battling cancer. Born John Lester Nash, the Texas native sang at churches growing up in Houston and made his professional debut in 1957 with “A Teenager Sings the Blues.” His debut on the charts came in 1958 with a cover of Doris Day’s “A Very Special Love.”

Johnny Nash age

He was 80 years of age when he died.

By 1965, Mr. Nash had formed his own record label, JoDa, in partnership with Danny Sims, his manager, and that year he scored a hit on the Billboard R&B chart with “Let’s Move and Groove (Together).” It marked the beginning of a new and much more successful phase of his career.

Nash later went on to reach megastar status with “I Can See Clearly Now,” which has sold more than 1 million copies since its 1972 release. He was also known for reggae, according to his website, which says he was one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica.

Early life

Nash was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Eliza (Armstrong) and John Lester Nash. He sang in the choir at Progressive New Hope Baptist Church in South Central Houston as a child. Beginning in 1953, Nash sang covers of R&B hits on Matinee, a local variety show on KPRC-TV; from 1956 he sang on Arthur Godfrey’s radio and television programs for a seven-year period.


Signing with ABC-Paramount, Nash made his major-label debut in 1957 with the single “A Teenager Sings the Blues”. He had his first chart hit in early 1958 with a cover of Doris Day’s “A Very Special Love”.Marketed as a rival to Johnny Mathis, Nash also enjoyed success as an actor early in his career, appearing in the screen version of playwright Louis S. Peterson’s Take a Giant Step in 1959. Nash won a Silver Sail Award for his performance from the Locarno International Film Festival. Nash continued releasing singles on a variety of labels such as Groove, Chess, Argo, and Warner Bros.

Nash sang the theme song to the syndicated animated cartoon series The Mighty Hercules, which ran on various television stations from 1963 to 1966. In 1964, Nash and manager Danny Sims formed JoDa Records in New York. JoDa released The Cowsills’ single “All I Really Want to Be Is Me.”Although JoDa filed for bankruptcy after only two years, Nash and Sims moved on to marketing American singers to Jamaica, owing to the low cost of recording in that country.

In 1965, Nash had a top-five hit in the US Billboard R&B chart, the ballad “Let’s Move and Groove Together.”That year, he and Sims moved to Jamaica. Their lawyer Newton Willoughby was the father of Jamaican radio host Neville Willoughby. After selling off his old entertainment assets in New York, Sims opened a new music publishing business in Jamaica, Cayman Music. Nash planned to try breaking the local rocksteady sound in the United States. Around 1966 or 1967, Neville Willoughby took Nash to a Rastafarian party where Bob Marley & The Wailing Wailers were performing. Members Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, and Rita Marley introduced Nash to the local music scene. Nash signed all four to an exclusive publishing contract with Cayman Music for J$50 a week.

After a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” in 1976 and “Let’s Go Dancing” in 1979, for many years Nash seemed to have dropped out of sight, with the exception of a brief resurgence in the mid-1980s with the album


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