Clarence “Frogman” Henry


Unquestionably the most important death of recent weeks was one Clarence “Frogman” Henry. He might not have done any groundbreaking physics work, nor did he kill two people. But he could do a good frog impression. And launched a music career off that frog impression.

That’s a beautiful thing.

An admirer of Fats Domino and Professor Longhair, the New Orleans-based Henry developed his trademark croak to tease girls in high school, and improvised a piano riff while touring with local R&B acts. The two components fused into 1956 hit “Ain’t Got No Home”, where he sang the second verse in a girl’s voice, and the third in a frog’s. The catchy groove and the actually funny gimmick made it the rare novelty song to have charm, and he became the most successful singing frog this side of Michigan J.

His first hit was his best, but singing like a frog couldn’t sustain an entire career. His return in the early 60s came off the back of traditionally pleasant brassy fare such as “(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do” and “You Always Hurt the One You Love”, high-leaping hits on both sides of the pond. His chartmaking days ended soon after, but his hits hopped all around pop culture ranging from Casino to Forrest Gump. Rush Limbaugh frequently used “Ain’t Got No Home” and Frogman credited the royalties from Limbaugh’s usage with financially securing him. Limbaugh used it to make fun of homeless people, just in case you were thinking Rush Limbaugh financially supported Clarence “Frogman” Henry out of the goodness of his heart.

He was 87 and still performing up to his death, and wore his Frogman legacy with pride in a house decorated with frog memorabilia. 50s New Orleans R&B singers were a long unheralded vessel of “WTF still alive” deadpooling picks, with Lloyd Price and Huey “Piano” Smith both feeling like they died in 1995 yet both living until this decade. It was a similar effect when I found out the Frogman was still alive in early 2020, and he finally got a home on my DDP team starting in 2022. Music theme team Sung Their Last Song joined me this time around.

Clarence “Frogman” Henry
19 March 1937 – 7 April 2024, aged 87
2 TEAMS (💀💀💀💀💀💀 6 POINTS)