Clarence Henry, New Orleans R&B Star Known as the Frogman, Dies at 87

Clarence Henry, the New Orleans rhythm-and-blues mainstay who was known as Frogman — and best known for boasting in his durable 1956 hit, “Ain’t Got No Home,” that “I sing like a girl/ And I sing like a frog” — died on Sunday. He was 87.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, where Mr. Henry had been scheduled to perform this month, announced his death. The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reported that he died in New Orleans of complications following back surgery.

“Ain’t Got No Home,” which reached No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100, became Mr. Henry’s signature hit and definitively captured his humor and his vocal high jinks. Written by Mr. Henry and released when he was a teenager, the song brought him his nickname and went on to become a perennial favorite on movie soundtracks, heard in “Forrest Gump,” “Diner,” “Casino” and other films. The Band opened “Moondog Matinee,” its 1973 album of rock ’n’ roll oldies, with “Ain’t Got No Home.”

The song was also used regularly in the 1990s by the right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, who played it while mocking homeless people. Mr. Henry was grateful for the royalties.

Mr. Henry in a publicity photo from 1960, shortly before his recording of “(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do” became his biggest hit. Credit…James J. Kriegsmann, via Gilles Petard/Redferns — Getty Images

His next hit — and his biggest one — arrived in 1961, when “(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do,” a song written by Bobby Charles and arranged by Allen Toussaint, reached No. 4. Later that year Mr. Henry had a No. 12 hit with his version of the standard “You Always Hurt the One You Love.” In 1964, the Beatles chose him as one of their opening acts for 18 shows on their American tour.

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