Song Spotlight: “I Can See Clearly Now”

Sunshine and wispy clouds over a calm ocean. Label reads "reggae and soul"
  • Mood: Slow, Hopeful, Optimistic
  • Themes: 60s songs, Showtunes
  • Tempo: Slow
  • Genre/Style: Reggae and Soul

Written in 1972, Johnny Nash’s song “I Can See Clearly Now” shows a person beginning to see clearly the problems that they are facing while also looking towards the future.  

Nash collaborated with Bob Marley early in his career. He took notable inspiration from him and the reggae style in general when writing “I Can See Clearly Now.”

The tune gained popularity rapidly, vaulting from the number 20 spot to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, where it stayed for four weeks. The popularity of the song spread to other countries like Ireland, Canada, and South Africa. Among many cover versions, a version of the song by Jimmy Cliff was used in the soundtrack of the movie, “Cool Runnings,” in 1993.

The lyrics of the song and gentle melody provide both optimism and comfort, describing a shift in perspective that makes problems clear and brings hope for the future. 

Here are some of the lyrics:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Share this song with a care partner or in a group to open up discussion about overcoming obstacles and looking to the future. The song would fit well with a collection of songs about healing and growth or songs from the 70s. This song also provides opportunities for musical engagement, movement, and more. 

Try This:

Theme: This song would fit well into a collection of Songs about Healing and Growth, or songs from the 70s. Other complementary songs may include “Three Little Birds”, “Lean on Me”, and “Going Back to My Roots.”

Discuss how the group would describe the smell of the earth after the rain (Hint: The technical word for this is “petrichor.”) Discuss the lyrics of the song: What do they think the singer is expressing?

Share ways to grow or experience healing from grief or difficult times.

Ask group members to close their eyes, if they feel comfortable, and imagine a sky clearing after a storm then sitting in the warm sunlight after the rain has gone.

Movement: Do gentle expressive movement with this song, such as swaying from side to side. 


1 Comment

  1. Barbara Gill (Mrs.) on April 29, 2024 at 12:05 am

    ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ is a good reflection of times we face today. Spiritual eyes need ‘to open’ so that we don’t lean on our own understanding. God sees all clearly. Humanity keeps trying. When will people realize we need
    ‘The One True Light’ to see…. BG (Canada)

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