The world just lost another Black icon.
Just when it seemed like 2020 was letting off the gas, Johnny Nash, known for his hit song “I Can See Clearly Now,” passed away on Tuesday evening at the age of 80.
The news was confirmed by his son, Johnny Nash Jr., who shared that elder Nash died of natural causes at his home in Houston, Texas.
Before he became an iconic figure on the music scene, Nash started singing as a child at Progressive New Hope Baptist Church in Houston. He later crossed over to pop music in the 1950s before launching the JAD label in New York in 1965. He made his major label debut in 1957 with the single, “A Teenager Sings the Blues,” before his later chart-topping song, “I Can See Clearly Now,” hit the airwaves in 1972.
Nash reportedly wrote the hit single while recovering from cataract surgery, and used it as a personal triumph story for overcoming hard times. To this day, the story still rings true to help fans “get through the rain.”
The Houston native’s JAD label was home to Bob Marley’s band, The Wailers, for a time, and he’s been said to have helped launch the career of his friend Bob Marley. According to the star’s website, he was also “one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica.”
In May 2006, Nash was reportedly singing at SugarHill Recording Studios and Tierra Studios in Houston and was working to transfer analog tapes of his songs from the 1970s and 1980s to digital formats.
The legacy of the singer-songwriter, actor, producer, and record label executive will live on forever.