Johnny Nash, who sang the classic track "I Can See Clearly Now," has died. The singer was 80. His son, Johnny Nash Jr., confirmed to CBS Los Angeles that Nash passed away at his home on Tuesday. They have not yet released any details about Nash's cause of death. Nash is survived by his son, his daughter Monica, and his wife Carli Nash.
Nash was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up singing at his local church, per Variety. Later in life, he traveled to Jamaica, where he met Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Livingston. The singer financed their recordings for his own label, JAD, but did not see much success. However, when it came to his music, Nash was able to find acclaim thanks to his 1972 song "I Can See Clearly Now," which he wrote and produced himself. The song went gold and gave him a four-week run at no. 1 in the United States. The track became a hit once again in 1993 when Jimmy Cliff recorded it for the soundtrack of Cool Runnings.
Nash did not frequently open up about his life in the press. Although, in April 1973, a young Cameron Crowe profiled the singer for the short-lived Zoo World magazine. "I never really get that egotistical about it…in terms of doing what I want to do," Nash told the young journalist at the time. "Because what I want to do is be a part of this business and to express myself and get some kind of acceptance by making people happy. I've had a kind of freedom most of my career to record and do what I like to do. Now it's being accepted… the ultimate form of acceptance being the number one record and all. That feels great… but it doesn't mean that I'm gonna go off on a big ego musical trip."
In recent years, Nash reportedly turned down multiple requests for interviews. As the Houston Chronicle reported in 2012, the late singer eventually stepped away from the music business in the 1980s after producing one final album, Tears on My Pillow. Nash's longtime business partner, Danny Sims, speculated about the decision and said that it was possible that the musician simply accomplished what he set out to do. "The minute you get success you end up with a lot of unsolicited advisors," Sims said. "I don't know if that's why he did it, but it could've been part of it. Johnny did things that kept him from being more commercially known: He didn't fit into the one idiom model with hit after hit. He wasn't that way. He'd record things of great quality and wasn't concerned about what style they were. Maybe that was part of it. He felt like he'd done what he wanted to do. He was certainly still in his prime as a singer and interpreter. So maybe he walked away at a bad time, but there was a reason for it."0comments