Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)

It is not difficult to believe that “I Can See Clearly Now” song has helped anyone who has ever heard it in the song’s existence for 47 years. This song is an epitome of feel-good and spreading positive vibes. It is also not surprising that this song is Jonny Nash’s biggest hit ever, as it reached #1 on Billboard Hot 100 back in 1972 when it was released, and stayed there for four weeks. There have been countless covers of the song done throughout this half-a-century of its existence and we would lay down some of the best including the iconic cover by Jimmy Cliff.

“I Can See Clearly Now” is a track from Johnny Nash’s album titled the same released in 1972. Nash’s next big hit “Stir It Up” was also produced from the same album. This album was heavily assisted by the reggae icon-Bob Marley.

There is quite an ongoing discussion about the meaning of “I Can See Clearly Now” song. Some allude it as the final clarity moment before somebody takes their own life. Most of the others see the song as a positive and motivational track. According to a rare interview with Johnny Nash, he has said that he composed these lyrics while he was lying in a hospital bed recovering from surgery. In that light, we can only believe that this song is about things looking up in the future.

Listen to “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash


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“I Can See Clearly Now” disc cover. B-side contains “How Good It Is.” (Image credits: genius.com)

Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “I Can See Clearly Now

This song is about looking forward for a brighter and a better future. Jonny Nash draws in a scene from nature-rain to draw conclusions with his life. ‘Rain’ usually signifies troubling, rough, gloomy and bad days, and ‘sunshine’ marks the exact opposite.

In these lyrics, we hear Johnny Nash singing about how the rainy clouds are seemingly moving away. There are obstacles in his path forward, but at least he can clearly see them now so he can navigate with care. The dark clouds reduce vision, and so they did for the mind of Johnny Nash. He was shrouded with anguish, pain and disappointment with whatever was going on in his life at the time. But something has changed now. The dark clouds are making way for sun light.

Sunshine resembles happy, cheerful and positive vibes. The skies are usually clear blue when the sun shines properly. ‘Clear skies’ are a sign of obstacle-free way ahead. From the first verse to the refrain, the song moved from seeing obstacles to clearing all the obstacles. May be, the obstacles were a thing of his mindset, as they usually are.

“I Can See Clearly Now” evolves in three stages. First, the rain clouds parting away making the vision ahead a little clearer. Second, sunshine seeps through the dark clouds and forms a rainbow. Third, the skies are all clear and sun shines bright. This is a sign of being free from whatever the shackles that held Nash down before the song.

Johnny Nash had not said much about the inspiration behind this song, but it seems to have developed from somewhere deep within himself.

Jimmy Cliff, a fellow raggae artist from Jamaica, recorded a cover of “I Can See Clearly Now” for the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ from 1993. This cover, too, became a hit reaching #18 on Billboard Hot 100.

Watch Jimmy Cliff Cover “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash

What do you think this song by Johnny Nash means? Let us know in the comments below. If you like this article, do share it with your friends.

Complete Lyrics to “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash

Adam McDonald

Hi! I am the founder and lead author and editor of Justrandomthings music community. A vast range of personal interests from Hip-Hop to Country to Hard Rock and Punk music will keep you entertained.

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2 Responses

  1. Patty Guido says:

    My sister’s husband passed away on the 18th and he sang this song before he passed. My sister believes he sang the song because he knew he was going to die.

  2. Anthony says:

    The song is about self reflection of one’s life during sickness and idle recovery in search for truth and God.

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