Pop legend of the American Underground died of a heart attack at 58
The news just came down the wire of the passing of Daniel Johnston, a true American original who channeled his suffering through the creation of some of the most beautiful pop songs recorded in the 20th century.
While a deeper look into the Austin icon’s career will be forthcoming, we wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to the art and beauty of this exceptional soul. It’s so hard to believe we lost Roky Erickson, Dr. John, Leon Redbone and now Daniel Johnston in the span of one calendar year. But as another bright light in Old, Weird America goes dim, the magic this man put on paper and cassette tape over the course of four decades will continue to inspire and enlighten as a beacon of good fortune for people the world over searching for inner peace and mental health wellness.
“Daniel Johnston will be missed,” wrote Jack Antanoff on his Twitter page. “A brilliant story teller and songwriter who carried my friends and I through many over night drives in the van. So much to learn from Daniel in the way he shared fearlessly.”
So many thanks to Mike Watt, Kurt Cobain, Larry Clark and Eddie Vedder for introducing me to Daniel’s work.
More soon, but for now please enjoy this YouTube mix of our favorite Daniel jams and remember this man for the gentle genius he was.