Mention the name Johnny Nash, and it may or may not ring a bell. His music, however, has impacted both fans and musical artists for the past thirty years. Music critics, historians and listeners alike are quick to lump Nash into the “one hit wonder” bin. That’s really not the case, but still somewhat understandable. Although the Houston, TX native released a string of singles from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s, he’s most well known for his single “I Can See Clearly Now.” He began his entertainment career as both a singer and actor, starring in a film version of Louis S. Peterson’s play Take A Giant Step. As a singer, Nash had already hit the charts in the late 1960s with a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Cupid;” and in the early 1970s with “Stir It Up,” a song written by reggae artist Bob Marley. But “I Can See Clearly Now” was Nash’s big hit that really hit big. Upon its release in 1972, the song initially moved slowly up the charts and then shot to number one on both the Billboard Pop and Adult Contemporary charts, remaining at the top for a month. The song’s impact was so phenomenal, it has since been covered by more than thirty artists of various genres including Ray Charles, Sonny and Cher, Willie Nelson and Johnathan Butler. The song made it to number eighteen on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1994 when reggae artist Jimmy Cliff recorded it as part of the soundtrack for the Disney feature film Cool Runnings.
Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at www.cdbaby.com/cd/montrose, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.