R.I.P. Johnny Nash, the '70s pop star who sang a classic '60s cartoon theme song
Did you grow up watching 'The Mighty Hercules'?
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Images: ABC-Paramount Records / NBCUniversal / Peacock Kids
Johnny Nash will forever be associated with his No. 1 single "I Can See Clearly Now." The cheery song dominated the pop charts in 1972, climbing all the way to the top of Billboard Hot 100, and remained a mainstay of easy-listening radio for decades. Nash, born in Houston, had relocated to Jamaica and took heavy influence from the feel-good vibes of Bob Marley. He wrote and produced the track himself.
But, before the Texas native moved to the Caribbean in 1965, he recorded a song heard by millions of Americans every week on television. Well, millions of children, mostly.
A decade before his chart-topping "I Can See Clearly Now," the tenor crooned the theme song to The Mighty Hercules, a cartoon about the Greek mythological legend. The animated sword-and-sandal adventure aired in first-run syndication from 1963–66.
Each episode began with the honeyed voice of Nash singing, "Hercules! Hero of song and story! Hercules! Winner of ancient glory! Fighting for the right, fighting with his might…"
Between Hercules and "I Can See Clearly Now," Nash's biggest success was "Hold Me Tight," a Top 10 hit in 1968. On October 6, 2020, Nash passed away at the age of 80.