Clarence 'Frogman' Henry
Born: March 19, 1937 New Orleans, Louisiana
As a child, Clarence Henry learned to play piano and trombone. His ability to sing in a rumbly chest voice earned him the nickname “Frogman.” Henry’s musical influences included Fats Domino and Professor Longhair. In high school, he often snuck into New Orleans bars to watch Professor Longhair.
In 1955, Henry started playing with Bobby Mitchell’s New Orleans rhythm and blues band. He later joined with bandleader Paul Gayten who accompanied him a year later on his top-10 smash “Ain’t Got No Home.” The song featured Henry’s “froggy” voice and a falsetto that soon became his signature tune. He wrote the “Frogman” (Ain’t Got No Home) in 1956 after a late gig at the Joy Lounge. He recorded the song for Chess Records along with “Troubles Troubles.” D.J. Poppa Stoppa kept playing the backside by the “Frogman,” and it reached number 20 on the Billboard in 1957. Since then, the song has been featured in such films as Diner (1982) and The Lost Boys (1985).
Success continued in 1961 with “But I Do,” a song penned by fellow Louisianan Bobby Charles and produced by New Orleans music legend Allen Toussaint. The song was featured in the 1994 Academy Award-winning Best Picture Forrest Gump. Television viewers will recognize it in a 2020 Expedia ad campaign.
Henry scored again in 1961 with the pop-soul hit “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” also produced by Toussaint. Other hits included “Lonely Street,” “On Bended Knee,” and “A Little Too Much.” Henry opened eighteen concerts for the Beatles across the US and Canada in 1964.