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Johnny Nash (1940-2020)

Johnny Nash died the same day as Eddie Van Halen. Although nowhere near as well known or innovative, at one time he was a fairly big star on both sides of the Atlantic. Also, unlike Eddie, he lived to a decent old age.

While by no means a one hit wonder, Nash is best known by far for his massive 1972 hit I Can See Clearly Now, which topped the Billboard singles chart and reached number 5 in the UK. Next to this, the best of his own compositions was the follow up single, There Are More Questions Than Answers, which reached number 9 in the UK.

Singer-songwriter John Lester Nash was born at Houston, Texas on August 19, 1940, the son of John Lester Nash, who died in 1986, but elected to be known as Johnny rather than John Junior. His musical career began early, he started off singing in the church choir and had his first hit at just eighteen. His film career did not lag far behind. In 1959, he was given the lead role as a teenager in Take A Giant Step which focused on America’s perennial obsession: race. He was also a regular on the small screen as both a performer and composer.

Nash spent some time in Jamaica and worked with Bob Marley, but he was not limited to reggae and related genres, even starring in a Swedish film, one that again played a racial angle.

He more or less quit music in 1979, although he had a couple of releases in the 1980s. He was married three times, and died in the city of his birth.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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