Clarence "Frogman" Henry

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This article is about the rhythm and blues artist. For other people with the same name, see Clarence Henry.
Clarence "Frogman" Henry
Birth name Clarence Henry II
Born (1937-03-19) March 19, 1937 (age 79)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres Rhythm and blues
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active 1952–present
Labels Argo

Clarence Henry II (born March 19, 1937), known as Clarence "Frogman" Henry, is an American rhythm and blues singer and pianist, best known for his hits "Ain't Got No Home" (1956) and "But I Do"" (1961).[1]

Career[edit]

Clarence Henry was born in New Orleans in 1937, moving to the Algiers neighborhood in 1948. He started learning piano as a child, with Fats Domino and Professor Longhair being his main influences. When Henry played in talent shows, he dressed like Longhair and wore a wig with braids on both sides. He joined Bobby Mitchell & the Toppers in 1952, playing piano and trombone, before leaving when he graduated in 1955 to join saxophonist Eddie Smith's band.[1][2]

He used his trademark croak to improvise the song "Ain't Got No Home" one night in 1955. Chess Records' A&R man Paul Gayten heard the song, and had Henry record it in Cosimo Matassa's studio in September 1956. Initially promoted by local DJ Poppa Stoppa, the song eventually rose to number 3 on the national R&B chart and number 20 on the US pop chart.[3] The gimmick earned Henry his nickname of 'Frogman' and jump-started a career that endures to this day.[1]

He toured nationally with a six-piece band until 1958, and continued to record.[2] A cover of Bobby Charles' hit "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do", and "You Always Hurt the One You Love", both from 1961, were his other big hits.[4]

Henry opened eighteen concerts for the Beatles across the US and Canada in 1964, but his main source of income came from the Bourbon Street strip in New Orleans, where he played for nineteen years.[1] His name could still draw hordes of tourists long after his hit-making days had ended. He still plays at various conventions, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Honors[edit]

Henry's pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In April 2007, "Frogman" was honored for his contributions to Louisiana music with induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Secondary references and re-use of hits[edit]

The Band recorded a version of Henry's trademark song "Ain't Got No Home" for their 1973 album Moondog Matinee. Henry's original of the song was later featured on the soundtrack of the 1982 film Diner. It was used in a famous bathtub scene in the cult movie The Lost Boys with actor Corey Haim singing along to it. Rod Stewart uses the chorus of "Ain't Got No Home" in his 1984 single "Some Guys Have All the Luck". It achieved fresh notoriety in the 1990s through its use as the "Homeless Update" theme music on The Rush Limbaugh Show, and is still used as recently as April 28, 2014. The song is in the movie Casino playing in the background as Joe Pesci asks Robert De Niro for a 50K chip marker. Jimmy Buffett referenced Henry in his song "Saxophones".[5] Henry made a cameo appearance on the third season opening episode of the HBO series Treme.

On his Live/Indian Summer album, Al Stewart introduced his song "Year of the Cat" with an odd anecdote about a mistaken-identity encounter involving Henry, Audrey Hepburn, and G. Gordon Liddy.[6]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single (A-side, B-side) Chart Positions
US Pop[7] US
R&B
[3]
UK[8]
1956 "Ain't Got No Home"
b/w "Troubles, Troubles"
20 3 -
1957 "Lonely Tramp"
b/w "I'm A Country Boy"
- - -
"It Won't Be Long"
b/w "I Found A Home"
- - -
1958 "I'm In Love"
b/w "Baby, Baby Please"
- - -
1961 "But I Do"
b/w "Just My Baby and Me"
4 9 3
"You Always Hurt the One You Love"
b/w "Little Suzy"
12 11 6
"Lonely Street"
b/w "Why Can't You"
57 19 42
"On Bended Knees"
b/w "Standing In The Need Of Love"
64 - -
1962 "A Little Too Much"
b/w "I Wish I Could Say The Same"
77 - -
"Dream Myself A Sweetheart"
b/w "Lost Without You"
- - -
"The Jealous Kind"
b/w "Come On and Dance"
- - -
1963 "It Takes Two To Tango"
b/w "If I Didn't Care"
- - -
1964 "Looking Back"
b/w "Long Lost and Worried"
- - -
"Have You Ever Been Lonely"
b/w "Little Green Frog"
- - -
1965 "You Can't Hide A Tear"
b/w "I Told My Pillow"
- - -
"Tore Up Over You"
b/w "I Might As Well"
- - -
1966 "Ain't Got No Home" (Re-recorded version)
b/w "Baby Ain't That Love"
- - -
"Cajun Honey"
b/w "Think It Over"
- - -
1967 "Hummin' A Heartache"
b/w "This Time"
- - -
1968 "That's When I Guessed"
b/w "Shake Your Moneymaker"
- - -
1993 "But I Do"
b/w "Ain't Got No Home"
A-side chart reentry
- - 65

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Biography by Bill Dahl". Allmusic.com. Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Clarence "Frogman" Henry: An R&B Legend!", Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Retrieved 12 October 2016
  3. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 190. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 251. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Burdeau, Cain (October 5, 2003). "New Orleans 'Frogman,' still jumpin' at 66". Associated Press 
  6. ^ "Al Stewart – Clarence Frogman Henry Lyrics". Golyr.de. Retrieved 2015-07-17. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 311. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  8. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 92. ISBN 0-00-717931-6. 

External links[edit]