Johnny Nash celebrates with Ernie Smith

Johnny Nash embraces Ernie Smith in a symbolic moment of friendship.

Claude Mills, Entertainment Reporter

R&B singer Johnny Nash and his wife, Carlie, flew into the island last weekend
to be among the specially invited guests for Ernie Smith's 30th anniversary
show 'Life is Just for Living' at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel that evening.

Nash first came to the island in the 1960s, where he lived for one year before
returning to the United States. He has returned to the island on numerous
occasions since then, the last time being in 1983.

"I have no family here, no connections whatsoever. I just love the vibes of this
little island, the spirit of the people, from the initial visit to deal with the
recording of songs. I've just been hooked," he said.

Johnny Nash is a versatile singer who has made a spiritual, if not working,
relationship with the natives of the isle, evidenced by the number of Jamaican
songs covered by Nash and the compliment returned by Jamaican singers and

According to Nash, it was he and his partner Danny Sims who first lured Marley
into a solo career. Nash recorded Marley's 'Guava Jelly' and made it a hit. He
topped the US charts with his own version of Jamaican reggae, 'I Can See Clearly
Now', which was later covered by Jimmy Cliff for the movie, 'Cool Runnings'.

In 1970, Sweet Soulettes, a vocal singing trio of Rita Marley, Hortense Lewis and
Cecile Campbell, went on a successful four-month tour of Canada and the USA,
where they recorded 'Lonely Woman' composed by Bob Marley with American
singer Johnny Nash. Ernie Smith's 'Tears on My Pillow', was also covered by
Johnny Nash who made it a monster hit worldwide. Nash's special R&B cut,
'Hold Me Tight' was his first No. 1 in Jamaica and reached the No. 3 spot on the
Biilboard charts.

Nash's last international hit was 'Rock Me Baby' in 1987. He also quit JAD, the
company, in which he was a co-owner with Danny Sims that year to undertake a
hiatus from the music business to rear his family and spend 'quality' time with
his kids.

"I am not doing any recordings right now or any major projects. It is difficult to
develop major music projects without following through to the end, doing
some touring of some sort and lots of promotion. It is just very difficult, and
right now, I've just elected to spend time with my family," he said.

Family members

Nash's family consists of his wife of 21 years, Carlie, his daughter, Monica, 19,
and his 11-year-old son, Johnny the Third. He resides in Houston, Texas where
he owns a ranch with a dozen horses, including his favourites, a bay stallion,
'Bandit' and a pretty palomino, 'Bill'. Nash is also a big fan of the Houston
Astros baseball team.

"Things couldn't be better. My life is fine, my family is fine. I've got no ailments
and I'm gonna see how it goes with the Houston Astros in the playoffs," said the
57-year-old singer.

"I think I've achieved gratification in terms of the people I've had the chance to
meet. I never won the Grammy, but I don't put my faith in things of that nature;
a lifetime body of work I can be proud of is more important to me. And the
special folksy blend to the music I make, that's what is all about," he said.