“I Can See Clearly Now” is a song originally recorded by Johnny Nash…..which was a single from the album of the same name…..and achieved success in the United States and the United Kingdom when it was released in 1972…..while reaching# 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart…..and as covered by many artists throughout the years….including a 1993 hit version by Jimmy Cliff, who re-recorded the song for the motion picture soundtrack of Cool Runnings….when it reached the top 20 at # 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After Nash wrote and composed the original version….he recorded it in London with members of the Fabulous Five Inc.….while producing it himself…..as the arrangements and style are both heavily laced with reggae influences…..for Nash had collaborated with Bob Marley in the past…..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 # 20 to # 5 and then to # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of 1972….while remaining atop this chart for four weeks….plus, it spent the same four weeks atop the adult contemporary chart.
Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff recorded a cover of the song for the 1993 movie Cool Runnings…..which was released as a single in 1993, reaching # 18 on the Billboard Hot 100…..as Cliff’s first single to make the Hot 100 in 25 years….while being his highest-charting single in the United States ever….and the song reached # 1 in France, Iceland and New Zealand. The music video for this version was directed by Academy Award nominated film director, Scott Hamilton Kennedy.
In this video seen herewith….Ray Charles sings “I Can See Clearly Now” on stage at Austin City Limits in 1980…..for an adoring crowd for the genius of Brother Ray…..as Ray Charles’s version charted at # 35 on the R&B charts in 1978.