Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Beloved Austin Singer-Songwriter and Outsider Artist Daniel Johnston Has Died


  • Facebook / Daniel Johnston
Cult musician Daniel Johnston has died at age 58, according to former manager Jeff Tarakov.

The singer-songwriter and visual artist suffered a heart attack Tuesday night and did not survive. He had been in declining health, according to news reports.

One of Austin’s most influential artistic exports, Johnston painted the famous “Hi How Are You” frog mural on the Drag and wrote and recorded 17 albums of original music. He got his start in the 1980s when, while working at a McDonald's, he began selling home-recorded tapes of his simplistically performed and emotionally naked songs.

Since then, his music has been covered by the likes of Yo La Tengo and Tom Waits. When Kurt Cobain was photographed rocking a shirt featuring Johnton’s frog logo, the outsider artist was quickly, if briefly, thrust into the pop culture mainstream.

Friends and celebrities took to social media Wednesday to express sorrow about his death.
Get our top picks for the best events in San Antonio every Thursday morning. Sign up for our Events Newsletter.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.