Clarence Henry was born in New Orleans and was playing and singing in local bands while still in high school. He became known for his ability to “croak” lyrics in songs, and Chess Records had him record a song he wrote, of Ain’t Got No Home, in 1956. The record had him singing like a man, a girl, and a frog, and helped permanently tag him with the nickname “Frogman.” His single reached #20 on the Hot 100 and peaked at #3 on the R&B chart.
Everybody might have forgotten the record, but its repeated use in movies and television and other recordings kept the memory of the song alive :
- Clarence opened for the Beatles singing his hit record at a series of concerts in 1964.
- The song was used in the soundtrack of the film Diner in 1982.
- Rod Stewart sang the chorus of the song in his hit, Some Guys Have All The Luck in 1984.
- Corey Haim sang along with the song in the film Lost Boys in 1987.
- The song was used in the background in the film Casino in 1995.
- Rush Limbaugh used the song on his radio show as the theme song for his Homeless Update segments. Rush invited Clarence and his band to sing the song during some of Rush’s public appearances.
Following up on his hit record was a challenge. It took until 1961 for Clarence to reach the charts again. (I Don’t Know Why I Love You) But I Do reached #4 and the single was the biggest hit of his career.
The Mills Brothers had a chart-topping hit with the song You Always Hurt The One You Love in 1944. Spike Jones did his typical parody of the song a year later, and it got a lot of airplay even though it missed the charts (and sounds politically incorrect now).
Clarence followed up his second hit single later that year with a cover of You Always Hurt The One You Love that reached #12 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the R&B chart. Three more of his singles reached the Hot 100 in the next twelve months, but none of them made it any higher than #57.
He recorded a series of other singles during the rest of the decade, but none of them reached the charts again. Clarence continued performing for tourists on Bourbon Street in New Orleans into the eighties and still continues to sing at conventions.