R&B legend Sam Moore of Sam & Dave tells me that Johnny Nash, who died this week at age 80, wrote his first hit for the duo long before they got to Altantic Records and had “Soul Man,” and so on.
The song was called “So Nice While It Lasted,” and it charted in 1963 with an A side called “You Ain’t No Big Thing, Baby.” This was when Sam & Dave were signed to Morris Levy’s Roulette Records and not having hits.
Sam and Johnny Nash remained friends all these years, of course, because Sam is friends with everyone. He turns 85 on October 12th.
Here’s the record. The songwriting credit is “Billy” Nash because that was either a pseudonym or someone got it wrong. You can hear Sam’s tenor slicing through the record, a foreshadowing of what would come.
Here’s the A side: