Toppa Top 8: Eight Reggae Albums By Non-Reggae Stars

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Johnny Nash-I Can See Clearly Now
Ten Reggae Albums By Non-Reggae Stars

Houston-born singer/songwriter and actor Johnny Nash had transitioned into a career as a producer and music executive for JAD, the New York label he co-founded with the late Danny Sims, when a late-60’s trip to Jamaica with his then-girlfriend led to his becoming the first non-Jamaican to record reggae—and a key figure in the internationalization of Bob Marley. Nash and Sims (who would become Bob’s long-time manager) had hoped to break rocksteady in the U.S. when an encounter with Marley led them to the new sound burgeoning on the island. Marley signed his first U.S. record contract with JAD (though the label only released two singles, including “Reggae on Broadway,”) while Nash would record four of Marley’s tunes himself. While those tracks (“Guava Jelly”, “Comma Comma”, “You Poured Sugar On Me” and “Stir It Up”) would appear on Nash’s ’72 album I Can See Clearly Now, the breakout hit was the title track—the first reggae tune to successfully chart in the U.S.