Our Top 10 Johnny Nash songs list looks back at the career of a singer with a golden voice and a huge number one single in 1972 that became part of pop culture forever. While many remember his huge hit single entitled “I Can See Cleary Now,” in 1972, many do not realize that Johnny Nash had been releasing records since the late 1950s. Johnny Nash crossed many musical genres throughout his career. Much of his earlier work was based in slow ballads. However, his natural inclination was tilted towards reggae music in which he enjoyed great success on the music charts. Still, much of his career was fueled by the recording of pop records and ballads that many fans fell in love with.
# 10 – A Very Special Love
We open up our top 10 Johnny Nash songs list with the artist’s first charting single release of his career. The song “A Very Special Love,” had originally been a hit by Doris Day. Johnny Nash sounds like Johnny Mathis on this recording. Johnny Nash’s voice is smooth as silk on this hit single from 1958.
# 9 – Tears On My Pillow (I Can’t Take It)
This is not the song you may think it is. It has nothing to do with the 1959 hit by Little Anthony and the Imperials. This song entitled “Tears On My Pillow (I Can’t Take It),” was written by Ernie Smith. Johnny Nash had a huge hit with the song in 1975 in the United Kingdom. The song went all the way to number one in the UK making it Johnny Nash’s only number one single of his career in the UK. The song did not chart in the United States because it was only released in the United Kingdom.
# 8 – Guava Jelly
This slow moving ballad that turns into a grooving reggae number stands as one of Johnny Nash’s great singles. The way it flows back and forth from slow ballad on the verse to its reggae groove on the song’s chorus is simply brilliant. And of course Johnny Nash nails the vocals with a spectacular group of back up singers that knocks this one out of that ballpark on the beach.
# 7 – Cupid
This reggae version of “Cupid,” is simply to die for. This classic song “Cupid,” which was written by Sam Cooke who had a huge hit with the song in 1961 was completely reworked by Johnny Nash in 1969. It was a huge success for Johnny Nash as he scored a top 40 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with this recording. The song peaked at number thirty nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and number thirty six on the Cashbox chart. In the United Kingdom it was a top 10 hit peaking at number six.
# 6 – Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye
Continuing with our top 10 Johnny Nash songs list we present a stunning version of this classic song “Then You Can Tel Me Goodbye.” This is another one of Johnny Nash’s spectacular vocal performances. The song was released on the great Johnny Nash album Teardrops in the Rain. The album was released in 1964. The song has been covered by many artists over the years. The Casinos had a hit with the song in 1967. Glen Campbell also had a hit with the song in 1976. The song has also been recorded by the 5th Dimension, Frankie Valli and recently by UK soul star Joss Stone.
# 5 – Let’s Move and Groove Together
Breaking into the second half of our top 10 Johnny Nash songs list we present this great soul classic single from Johnny Nash titled “Let’s Move and Groove Together.” Sounding somewhere between Otis Redding and Wilson Picket, Johnny Nash delivered big time on this one with plenty of spoken word swagger and undeniable soul singing that further defined how versatile a singer Johnny Nash was.
# 4 – Hold Me Tight
At number four on this Johnny Nash songs list we take a listen to one of Johnny Nash’s most successful recordings in the song “Hold Me Tight.” The song would become Johnny Nash’s first top 10 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 of his career. He would only break into the Billboard Top 10 one more time in his long career. The song also hit number one in Canada. This great reggae infused song entitled “Hold Me Tight,” was released in 1968. The song was also written by Johnny Nash.
# 3 – Rock Me Baby
As we begin to wind down this Johnny Nash songs list, we turn to the classic Johnny Nash song “Rock Me Baby.” This fantastic single was released in 1985. However, despite the song’s greatness, it did not break into any of the United States music charts. It did however break into the top 50 on the UK music charts as further proof that Johnny Nash really celebrated more popularity in the United Kingdom over the years than he did in the U.S. That is of course with the exception of the number one song on this list.
# 2 – Lets Be Friends
Oh man, listen to Johnny Nash sing this great reggae meets soul ballad entitled “Lets Be Friends.” Released towards the end of the disco era in 1979, Johnny Nash nailed it on this one. It’s an unheralded gem from the 1970s that has become lost and forgotten except among die hard Johnny Nash fans. Bruce Springsteen composed and recorded a song called “Lets Be Friends (Skin to Skin),” on his Rising album that sounds very much inspired by this great Johnny Nash song. Hmmmmm
# 1 – I Can See Clearly Now
We close out our top 10 Johnny Nash songs list with a track that everyone knows. If you grew up in the 1970s, you grew up with this song and probably heard it thousands of times. It stands as one of the most popular single releases of the decade of the 1970s. Johnny Nash released the single “I Can See Clearly Now,” in 1972 on the album also titled I Can See Clearly Now. The song went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Cashbox music charts. It also hit number one in Canada and number five in the United Kingdom. The song was also written by Johnny Nash.
Feature Photo: Joda Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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