Jimmy Cliff and the Jamaican Bobsled Team

News that the Jamaican bobsled team has qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics has brought with it references to the first time the team made the Olympics — in 1988 — and with that, of course, references to the 1993 film Cool Runnings, which was based on the story of the team’s journey toward Olympic qualification.

Cool Runnings spawned a Top 20 hit, as Jimmy Cliff‘s version of “I Can See Clearly Now” hit number 18 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart exactly 20 years ago.  Interestingly, the song produced a return to the early 1970s in two ways.  First, for Cliff, in addition to becoming the biggest hit of his career, “I Can See Clearly Now” marked his first time on the Hot 100 since 1970, when he peaked at number 25 with “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” and at number 89 with “Come Into My Life” — his only two prior appearances on the Hot 100.  Second, Cliff’s version of “I Can See Clearly Now” marked the second time that a version of the song had made the Hot 100.  The first time, in 1972, Johnny Nash’s original version spent four weeks at number 1.

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