He is a
singer-songwriter, composer and actor born John Lester Nash Jr. in Houston, Texas, who started singing with his church
choir while young and in the 1950s was singing as a regular guest on the TV
noticed by Arthur Godfrey in 1956 he found himself performing on his television
and radio shows over the next seven years.
with ABC-Paramount Records in 1957 he achieved his first entry into the
charts when his recording of “A Very Special Love” reached No.
23 on the Billboard Hot 100. The nest year he joined up with
George Hamilton IV and Paul Anka for the release
of “The Teen Commandments”.
almost as a Johnny Mathis rival or alternative, he stopped concentrating
solely on singing in 1959 and ventured into acting. He was so successful at it that the Locarno Interntaional Film
Festival presented him with a Silver Sail Award for his performance in the
movie version of Take a Giant Step. The following year he made an
appearance in Key Witness.
He released a
further 5 singles between 1958 and 1965, which all had minor success on the
Billboard chart. He also sang
the theme song for the animated series The
Mighty Hercules which first ran from 1963 to 1966.
Then in 1965
he became the co-founder of the JAD record label which Danny Sims. They signed up several artists
including The Cowsills, who later went on to
achieve major chart success.
In 1968 he
achieved a much bigger hit than his earlier releases when “Hold Me
Tight” went to No. 1 in Canada and No. 5 in the US and UK. 1968 was an important year for him
as that is when he went to Jamaica and me the novelist and DJ Neville
Willoughby. He introduced him
to a local group of three singers called The Wailers. Nash signed them to a contract with
JAD and helped with finance for recordings. They released the singles “Bend
Down Low” in 1968 and “Reggae on Broadway” in 1972, which
was recorded in London when Johnny recorded his album I
Can See Clearly Now. The album included the international
chart topper “I Can See Clearly Now” and four songs written by
Bob Marley, which included his previous hit “Stir It Up”. He also had a big hit in 1970 with
his version of “Cupid”.
1971 saw the
demise of the JAD label and that same year saw him returning to acting when
he performed the role of a composer in the Swedish film Vill sa garna tro which Bob Marley co-composed the soundtrack
record he released several singles after 1972 with the 1975 “Tears on
My Pillow” becoming his biggest hit in the UK.
In 1979 he had a mediocre hit with “(What a) Wonderful World”
and after a six year chart break “Rock Me Baby” gave him a No.
47 hit in the UK in 1985.
For the next
twelve years or so he was relatively unheard of but in 1997 JAD Records had
a revival when Roger Steffens, who is a
specialist on Bob Marley, along with the producer and musician Bruno Blum put
together the 10-album set Complete
Bob Marley & The Wailers 1967-1972.
When the new
millennium came around he started singing in Houston at the Tierra and Sugar Hill recording
studios. He also began working with
the engineers of these studios to make Pro Tools digital format transfers
of his analog tapes from the 1970s and ‘80s. In the mid-2000s he is thought to
have been involved with the Johnny Nash Indoor Arena in Houston, Texas.
During the course
of his career to date he has released at least 17 studio albums and 6
compilations. He has also been
credited on hundreds of albums as a performer or composer and just a very
few of these include One World by
Gregory Abbott, 30th Anniversary
Collection by Paul Anka, Basie’s Beatle Bag by Count Basie & His Orchestra, You’re No Good by Ken Boothe, True to Life by Ray Charles, Blue by Cher,
Live In London by Petula Clark, The
Harder They Come by Jimmy Cliff, Turn
Around Look at Me/ I Love How You Love Me by Ray Conniff,
Songs of Innocence and Experience
by The Emotions, I’ll Take
Romance by Percy Faith, I Can See
Clearly Now by Neil Finn, Honey/
Summer (The First Time) by Bobby Goldsboro, Together at Last by Stephane Grappelli, Legacy
by Leon Haywood, Home by Hothouse
Flowers, Midnight Diamond by Dobie Gray, Delilah
by Tom Jones, Crazy Cajun Recordings
by Doug Kershaw, Imagination by
Gladys Knight & The Pips, Songs
of Freedom by Bob Marley & The Wailers, Love Music by Sergio Mendes & Brasil
’66, Par Amour by Nana Mouskouri, Songs
of the Heart by Anne Murray, Stardust
by Willie Nelson, A Man and a Half:
The Best Of… by Wilson Pickett, Decades, Vol. 1: Love Songs of the ‘70s by Donny Osmond, On My Radio by The Selecter, By
Special Request by Hank Snow, All
I Ever Need: The Kapp/MCA Anthology by Sonny &
Walker, It’s All Over! by Billie Jo Spears, Anthology ’59-62 by Phil Spector,
You’re Right Joe Tex by Joe
Tex, Inflation by Stanley Turrentine, Labour
of Love IV by UB40, Only Hits
by The Ventures and Imagine by Roger
Whittaker along with countless compilations.