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'?

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.

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Lacey 45 months ago
Sorry to hear this as I knew the series Hercules form much later than its original airing. In fact, I knew that song before I knew it was Johnny who sang "I can see clearly now."
jacko3 45 months ago
.. that was a great hot song - I can see clearly now ...' GOD Be With 'Johnny' ....
horribleHDanny 45 months ago
R.I.P.Johnny Nash,Eddie Van Halen,Mac Davis,Helen Reddy!This is par for the course in 2020,a giant,footlong,cyanide laced,(bleep)sandwich of a year!!
Mitchell 45 months ago
He is a great big phony
He is full of baloney
Fighting for his life
With a rubber knife
Fighting paper men
This is the end
Of the mighty-Hercules!
Barry22 45 months ago
RIP. I do remember this cartoon, it was terrible. Did not know Nash sang the theme. Wasn't there a line about Herc's thighs? Yikes!!
cperrynaples Barry22 45 months ago
Yeah, I think it was something like "Thunder from his thighs"! Yep, that cartoon was DEFINITELY gay...LOL!
daDoctah cperrynaples 45 months ago
That boy centaur sidekick didn't help matters any.
cperrynaples daDoctah 45 months ago
Yeah, he was an equine Robin if you get my drift! BTW, didn't he have a high-pitched voice?
Barry22 cperrynaples 45 months ago
.....and he would repeat himself over and over.
dmagoon cperrynaples 45 months ago
BTW, what about Mattel's ads for Disney's Hercules toys?; something, at least, seemed a little odd with them, esp. the use of the word "hunk"(?) by the "Negro(?) church singers".
dmagoon daDoctah 45 months ago
His name was Newton, a name literally not fitting in Greek Mythology.
Lacey Barry22 45 months ago
It wasn't terrible, It wasn't Disney but it was well on par with anything else on Saturday mornings. And didn't Trans-Lux also give us Felix the Cat?
15inchBlackandWhite 45 months ago
Aside from Nash's I really disliked all of the voices on that cartoon.
texasluva 45 months ago
Sad to hear both Johnny Nash and Eddie Van Halen passed on the same day. Both great performers. R.I.P. gentlemen.
Pacificsun texasluva 45 months ago
Let's post the song that matters.
When I was in 6th grade I had the coolest teacher. All the girls wanted him for their teacher because he was good looking, the boys because he was cool. He was "Establishment" age, {or close to it}. But we didn't care, he was still cool.
I'll never forget, getting the end of the {5th grade} year report cards. On the back of them on the bottom, was the room number we were assigned for next year. I, like a lot of girls, hoped it would be #23. My feeling was, I couldn't get so lucky. That sort of thing falls under the heading of "happening to others." But, I anxiously glanced down at the bottom, and there was the winning #! I remember I was standing, {for whatever reason,} at the teacher's desk, and I and another girl were there. When she found out I Mr Hall, she asked Mrs. Sammon if she could switch room. Of course you couldn't, Some of the kids wound up with MS the next year, because she was going to be teaching 6th.
Anyway...One of the things that was cool about Mr. Hall, was that if we had a study period, or we had to have indoor recess or we were allowed to eat lunch in the classroom, he would let us listen to records. There was a girl in our class who had quite the 45 collection. So she volunteered to bring them and her record player to school. Either she, or Mr. Hall "took requests," and asked what we wanted to hear. One kid, {his name was Doug,} always requested "I Can See Clearly Now." It became a classroom joke. We'd say stuff like: "Don't bother to ask Doug, we know what know what song he wants!"
Sorry. That should read: "we know what song he wants!"
Curious how sometimes it’s just a single reference that calls to mind such deep intensive memories. This one is built around a song perhaps. But connects you with a very specific touch point in the past! Early crushes, a bit of fantasy, a connection that kind of makes a person feel special. Doug might’ve been the element of comedy. But landing in Mr. Hall’s class is what really counted. No doubt it was a memorable semester!

Nice memory. Many of us can relate! Thank you for sharing!
MrsPhilHarris 45 months ago
I don't remember watching Hercules.
Lacey MrsPhilHarris 45 months ago
I think Trans-Lux sold a package to independent stations after the initial run on network television because I remember watching Hercules, Felix the Cat, and Flash Gordon (original serial) on Saturday mornings well past the 1960s.
UTZAAKE 45 months ago
Almost all of the mainstream media obituaries neglected to mention this key fact. Folks on social media, myself included, clearly remembered this. Outstanding article. RIP Johnny Nash.
cperrynaples 45 months ago
"Victory is here, raise a mighty cheer at the sight of Hercules!"
Is this going to be a variation on "death comes in 3?" We've already had 4 musicians die the same day. Does this mean, {I hope not,} that we will hear of a third pair of musicians dying the same day? This has an eerie vibe to it. Well, the vibe it gives off, is [unfortunately,] perfect for this time of year.
You mean 4 in a week if you're refering to Mac Davis and Helen Ready! All will be remembered! And actually, this type of bad news is normal for 2020! Yes, none of them died of Covid, but let's all agree that this year is a [BLANK]storm!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 45 months ago
Yes, I meant Reddy, Stephanie!
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