Johnny Nash

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This article is about singer-songwriter. For other uses, see Johnny Nash (disambiguation).
Johnny Nash
Johnny Nash.png
Johnny Nash in 1965
Background information
Birth name John Lester Nash, Jr.
Born (1940-08-19) August 19, 1940 (age 76)
Origin Houston, Texas, U.S.
Genres Reggae
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, composer, actor
Years active 1956–present
Labels Epic, JAD

John Lester "Johnny" Nash, Jr. (born August 19, 1940) is an American reggae singer-songwriter, best known in the US for his 1972 hit, "I Can See Clearly Now". He was also one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica.[1]

Life and musical career[edit]

Born John Lester Nash, Jr. in Houston, Texas, he began as a pop singer in the 1950s. He released four albums for ABC-Paramount, with his self named debut in 1958. Around 20 singles were released between 1958 & 1964 on a variety of labels such as Groove, Chess, Argo and Warners. He 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. Nash won a Silver Sail Award for his performance from the Locarno International Film Festival.

In 1965, Johnny Nash and Danny Sims formed the JODA Records label in New York. One of the more interesting signings was four brothers from Newport, Rhode Island, ages 9, 11, 15 and 16, called The Cowsills; this was prior to their later signing with Mercury/Philips, and then MGM, for whom they had their first million-selling hit single, "The Rain, The Park & Other Things". The Cowsills went into the studio in New York with session musicians and recorded a number of songs like "Either You Do Or You Don't" and "You Can't Go Halfway". Eventually The Cowsills would write and record their own song, "All I Really Wanta Be Is Me", which became the group's debut single release on JODA (J-103).

Nash recorded several hits in Jamaica, where he travelled in early 1968, as his girlfriend had family links with local TV and radio host and novel writer Neville Willoughby. Nash planned to try breaking the local rocksteady sound in the United States. Willoughby introduced him to a local struggling vocal group, Bob Marley & The Wailing Wailers. Members Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Rita Marley introduced him to the local scene.[2] Nash signed all four to an exclusive recording contract with his JAD label and also an exclusive publishing contract with Cayman music. An advance was paid in the form of a weekly wage and JAD also financed some of their recordings, some with Byron Lee's Dragonaires and some with other local musicians such as Jackie Jackson and Lynn Taitt. None of the Marley and Tosh songs he produced were successful. Only two singles were released at the time: "Bend Down Low" (JAD 1968) and "Reggae on Broadway" (Columbia, 1972), which was recorded in London in 1972 on the same sessions that produced "I Can See Clearly Now."

"I Can See Clearly Now" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in November 1972.[3] "I Can See Clearly Now" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 4, 1972 and remained atop the chart for four weeks, and also spent the same four weeks atop the adult contemporary chart. The I Can See Clearly Now album includes four original Marley compositions published by JAD: "Guava Jelly", "Comma Comma", "You Poured Sugar On Me" and the follow-up hit "Stir It Up". "There Are More Questions Than Answers" was a third hit single taken from the album.

Nash was also active as a composer in the Swedish romance Vill så gärna tro (1971) in which he portrayed Robert. The film soundtrack, partly instrumental reggae with strings, was co-composed by Bob Marley and arranged by Fred Jordan.

JAD Records ceased to exist in 1971, but it was revived in 1997 by American Marley specialist Roger Steffens and French musician and producer Bruno Blum for the "Complete Bob Marley & the Wailers 1967-1972" ten-album series for which several of the Nash-produced Marley and Tosh tracks were mixed or remixed by Blum for release. Nash's biggest hits were the early reggae (rocksteady) tunes "Hold Me Tight" (a #5 hit in the US in 1968 and the UK, the tune used more than a year earlier in Score commercials) and "Stir It Up" (1971), the latter written by Bob Marley prior to Marley's international success. In the UK, his biggest hit was with the song "Tears On My Pillow" which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in July 1975 for one week.[4]

After a cover of Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" and "Let’s Go Dancing" in 1979, for many years he seemed to have dropped out of sight, with the exception of a brief resurgence in the mid-1980s with the album Here Again (1986), which was preceded by the minor UK hit, "Rock Me Baby"; however, in May 2006 he was singing again at SugarHill Recording Studios and at Tierra Studios in his native Houston. Working with SugarHill chief engineer Andy Bradley and Tierra Studios' grammy-winning Randy Miller, he began the work of transferring analog tapes of his songs from the 1970s and 1980s to Pro Tools digital format.[5][6]

The Mighty Hercules syndicated TV cartoon series also features a theme song sung by singer Johnny Nash, the American reggae singer-songwriter best known for 1956's "A Very Special Love" and 1972's "I Can See Clearly Now."

Acting career[edit]

Johnny Nash has four acting credits in film and television. In 1959, he had the lead role as Spencer Scott in Take a Giant Step, directed by Philip Leacock, one of the first black family films written by a black.[7] In 1960 he appeared as "Apple" alongside Dennis Hopper in the crime drama Key Witness. In 1971, he played Robert in the Swedish romance Vill så gärna tro.[8]

Selected discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart Positions Album
US[9] US
Cashbox
US
R&B
[10]
US
A/C
UK[11] CA AU
1956 "A Teenager Sings The Blues"
b/w "Out Of Town"
- - - - - - - Non-album tracks
1957 "I'll Walk Alone"
b/w "The Ladder Of Love"
- - - - - - -
"A Very Special Love"
b/w "Won't You Let Me Share My Love With You"
23 30 - - - - -
1958 "My Pledge To You"
b/w "It's So Easy To Say"
- - - - - - -
"Please Don't Go"
b/w "I Lost My Love Last Night"
- - - - - - -
"You're Looking At Me"
b/w "Truly Love"
- 98 - - - - -
"Almost In Your Arms"
b/w "Midnight Moonlight" (from Johnny Nash)
78 49 - - - - -
"The Teen Commandments"
Paul Anka, George Hamilton IV, Johnny Nash
B-side by Don Costa: "If You Learn To Pray"
29 46 - - - - 41
1959 "Walk With Faith In Your Heart"
b/w "Roots Of Heaven"
- 48 - - - - -
"As Time Goes By"
b/w "The Voice Of Love"
43 48 - - - - -
"And The Angels Sing"
b/w "Baby, Baby, Baby"
- - - - - - - I Got Rhythm
"Take A Giant Step"
b/w "But Not For Me"
- 119 - - - - - Non-album tracks
"The Wish"
b/w "Too Proud"
- - - - - - -
1960 "Goodbye"
b/w "A Place In The Sun"
- - - - - - -
"Never My Love"
b/w "(You've Got) The Love I Love" (from I Got Rhythm)
- - - - - - -
"Let The Rest Of The World Go By"
b/w "Music Of Love" (Non-album track)
- - - - - - - Let's Get Lost
"Looks Like The End Of The World"
b/w "We Kissed"
- - - - - - - Non-album tracks
"Somebody"
b/w "Kisses"
- - - - - - -
1961 "Some Of Your Lovin'"
b/w "World Of Tears"
104 93 - - - - -
"I Need Someone To Stand By Me"
Original B-side: "A House On The Hill"
Later B-side: "A Thousand Miles Away"
- - - - - - -
"I'm Counting On You"
b/w "I Lost My Baby"
- - - - - - -
"Too Much Love"
b/w "Love's Young Dream"
- - - - - - -
1962 "Don't Take Away Your Love"
b/w "Moment Of Weakness"
- 129 - - - - -
"Ol' Man River"
b/w "My Dear Little Sweetheart"
120 91 - - - - -
1963 "I'm Movin' On"
b/w "Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women"
- - - - - - -
"I've Got A Lot To Offer Darling"
b/w "Helpless"
- - - - - - -
"Deep In The Heart Of Harlem"
b/w "What Kind Of Love Is This"
- - - - - - -
"Town Of Lonely Hearts"
b/w "It's No Good For Me"
- - - - - - -
1964 "I'm Leaving"
b/w "Oh Mary Don't You Weep"
120 103 - - - - -
"Love Ain't Nothin'"
b/w "Talk To Me"
- 133 - - - - - Teardrops In The Rain
"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye"
b/w "Always" (Non-album track)
- - - - - - -
1965 "Strange Feeling"
b/w "Spring Is Here" (from Composer's Choice)
- - - - - - -
"Teardrops In The Rain"
b/w "I Know What I Want"
- - - - - - -
"Let's Move & Groove Together"
b/w "Understanding" (from Love Me Tender)
88 92 4 - - - - Non-album track
1966 "Get Myself Together"
b/w "Teardrops In The Rain"
- - - - - - - Teardrops In The Rain
"One More Time"
b/w "Tryin' To Find Her"
- - - - - - - Love Me Tender
"Somewhere"
b/w "Big City"
120 118 35 - - - -
"Amen"
b/w "Perfumed Flower"
- - - - - - - Non-album tracks
1967 "Good Goodness"
b/w "You Never Know"
- - - - - - -
"(I'm So) Glad You're My Baby"
b/w "Stormy"
- - - - - - -
1968 "Hold Me Tight"
b/w "Cupid"
5 7 21 20 5 1 4 Hold Me Tight
"You Got Soul"
b/w "Don't Cry"
58 55 46 - 6 37 72
1969 "Lovey Dovey"
b/w "You Got Soul"
130 - - - - - -
"We Try Harder"*
b/w "My Time"*
135 - - - - - - Johnny Nash & Kim Weston
"Sweet Charity"
b/w "People In Love" (from Hold Me Tight)
- - - - - - - Non-album track
"Love and Peace"
b/w "People In Love" (from Hold Me Tight)
132 - - - - - - Love and Peace
"Cupid"
b/w "Hold Me Tight"
39 36 - 38 6 30 - Hold Me Tight
1970 "(What A) Groovey Feeling"
b/w "You Got Soul" -- Part 1 (from Soul Folk)
102 131 - - - - - Non-album tracks
"Falling In and Out Of Love"
b/w "You Got To Change Your Ways" (from Hold Me Tight)
- - - - - - -
1972 "Stir It Up"
b/w "Cream Puff"
- 11 - 6 13 7 48 I Can See Clearly Now
"I Can See Clearly Now"
b/w "How Good It Is"
1 1 38 1 5 1 3
"There Are More Questions Than Answers"
b/w "Guava Jelly"
- - - - 9 - -
1973 "Stir It Up"
b/w "Ooh Baby You've Been Good To Me"
12[12] - - - - - -
"My Merry-Go-Round"
b/w "(Oh Jesus) We're Trying To Get Back To You"
77 74 - 34 - 47 - My Merry-Go-Round
"Ooh What A Feeling"
b/w "Yellow House"
103 - - 38 - - -
1974 "Loving You"
b/w "Gonna Open Up My Heart Again"
91 67 40 - - - -
"You Can't Go Halfway"
b/w "The Very First Time"
105 90 38 - - - - Celebrate Life
"Celebrate Life"
b/w "Beautiful Baby"
- - - - - - -
1975 "(You Gave Me Such) Good Vibrations"
b/w "The Very First Time"
- - - - - - -
"Tears On My Pillow"
b/w "Beautiful Baby" (from Celebrate Life)
- - - - 1 - 69 Tears On My Pillow (UK release only)
"Let's Be Friends"
b/w "The Edge Of Love"
- - - - 42 - -
1976 "(What A) Wonderful World"
b/w "Rock It Baby (Baby We've Got A Date)" (from Tears On My Pillow)
103 82 66 34 25 - 96 What A Wonderful World (UK release only)
1977 "That Woman"
b/w "Back In Time"
- - - - - - -
1979 "Closer"
b/w "Mr. Sea"
- - 74 - - - - Let's Go Dancing
1985 "Rock Me Baby"
b/w "Love Theme From 'Rock Me Baby'"
- - - - 47 - 99 Here Again
1989 "I Can See Clearly Now"(remix)
CD single with three other tracks
- - - - 54 - - Non-album track
*with Kim Weston

Albums[edit]

  • 1958: Johnny Nash (Paramount)
  • 1959: I Got Rhythm (Paramount)
  • 1959: Quiet Hour (Paramount)
  • 1960: Let's Get Lost (Paramount)
  • 1961: Starring Johnny Nash (Paramount)
  • 1964: Composer's Choice (Argo)
  • 1968: Hold Me Tight (JAD) # 109 US
  • 1969: Prince of Peace (JAD)
  • 1969: Let's Go Dancing (Epic)
  • 1972: Teardrops in the Rain (Cadet)
  • 1972: I Can See Clearly Now (Epic) # 39 UK, # 23 US
  • 1973: My Merry-Go-Round (Epic US),[13] # 169 US
  • 1974: Celebrate Life (Epic)
  • 1975: Tears on My Pillow (CBS)[14]
  • 1977: What a Wonderful World (Epic)
  • 1979: Let's Go Dancing (Epic)[15]
  • 1986: Here Again (London)

Compilations[edit]

  • 1977: Johnny Nash Collection # 18 UK
  • 1979: The Johnny Nash Album (CBS)
  • 1981: Stir It Up
  • 1993: The Reggae Collection
  • 1996: The Best of Johnny

[4][16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rita Marley, Hettie Jones, No Woman, No Cry (Sidgwick & Jackson, 2004), Chapter 5. Accessed 2 July 2014
  2. ^ Jelly-Schapiro, Joshua (June 11, 2012). "Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Island Records". Los Angeles Review of Books. 
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 317. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  4. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 387. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Clearly Houston". Mixonline. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  7. ^ Reid, Mark. "Take a Giant Step, A Raisin in the Sun: The U.S. black family film". ejumpcut.org. Jump Cut. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Johnny Nash". IMDB. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 499. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B Singles: 1942-1995. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 320. ISBN 0-89820-115-2. 
  11. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 545. ISBN 0-00-717931-6. 
  12. ^ Re-released in US after success of "I Can See Clearly Now"
  13. ^ "Johnny Nash - My Merry-Go-Round (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  14. ^ "Johnny Nash - Tears On My Pillow (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  15. ^ "Johnny Nash - Let's Go Dancing (Vinyl, LP)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  16. ^ "The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". Answers. Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  17. ^ "Johnny Nash Discography". Discogs.com. 1940-08-19. Retrieved 2015-08-26. 

External links[edit]