"I Can See Clearly Now" is a song written and originally recorded by American singer Johnny Nash. It was a single from his album of the same name and achieved success in the United States and the United Kingdom when it was released in 1972, reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box charts. It also reached number one in Canada and South Africa. The song has been covered by many artists throughout the years, including a hit version by Lee Towers that reached no. 19 in the Dutch Top 40 in 1982, and another recorded by Jimmy Cliff for the motion picture soundtrack of Cool Runnings that peaked at no. 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1993.
After Nash wrote and composed the original version, he recorded it in London with members of the Fabulous Five Inc., and produced it himself. The song's arrangements and style are both heavily laced with reggae influences, as Nash had earlier collaborated with Bob Marley and his approach drew strongly from Marley's reggae style.
After making modest chart advances for a month, the RIAA-certified gold single unexpectedly took only two weeks to vault from No. 20 to No. 5 to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 4, 1972, remaining atop this chart for four weeks, and also spent the same four weeks atop the adult contemporary chart.
Jamaican reggae singer Jimmy Cliff recorded a cover of the song for the 1993 movie Cool Runnings. It was released as a single in 1993, reaching No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Cliff's first single to make the Hot 100 in 25 years and is his highest-charting single in the United States. The song reached No. 1 in France, Iceland, and New Zealand. The music video for this version was directed by Academy Award nominated film director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy.
Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "Cliff manages to breathe freshness into this oft-covered pop nugget. His laid-back vocal is matched by a relatively faithful arrangement (except for the delicate reggae flavors). Already amassing praise at adult formats, track is a good bet for eventual top 40 success."