Former R&B star Clarence 'Frogman' Henry, of New Orleans jazz fame, dead at 87

 April 9, 2024

Famed New Orleans-based R&B musician and singer Clarence "Frogman" Henry, who once toured as an opening act for the Beatles, passed away on Sunday at the age of 87, according to the Associated Press.

The sad news was first shared by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, for which Henry was scheduled to perform at the Foundation's annual festival later this month.

The announcement said he was "surrounded by family and friends" at his end but did not disclose a cause of death for the local New Orleans legend.

Was scheduled to perform in upcoming jazz festival

"It is with profound sadness that we share the news of Clarence 'Frogman' Henry's passing. A beloved icon of New Orleans music, he passed away at the age of 87 on Sunday night, surrounded by friends and family," the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation said in a statement posted to social media.

"Frogman's absence at the upcoming 2024 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will be deeply felt, as he was scheduled to grace the stage on local’s Thursday with the New Orleans Classic Recording Revue. Rest in peace, Frogman," the statement added.

The post also included a photo of Henry smiling broadly during a performance at the annual festival in 2007.

Hospitalized following complications from back surgery

According to, one of Henry's daughters confirmed that he had died Sunday evening at University Medical Center in New Orleans.

Cathy Henry revealed that, in anticipation of his upcoming performance at the jazz festival, her father had insisted on having back surgery in February "because he thought he was going to walk and play Jazz Fest." Due to his declining health, he had been confined to a walker or wheelchair in recent years.

Unfortunately, following a return to his home in nearby Algiers after an initially successful surgery, Henry developed complications and was readmitted to the hospital, never to leave again.

Once a national star, later featured in the local scene and on soundtracks

The AP reported that Henry was born in New Orleans in 1937 and began playing the piano at age 8, picked up playing the trombone in high school, and soon began touring southern Louisiana with a local band while he was still a student.

He became a nationally-known star in 1956 with a hit novelty single titled "Ain't Got No Home," according to, in which he alternated between his normal voice, a falsetto female voice, and a low croaky voice like a frog, and that song reached No. 3 on the Billboard R&B chart and breached the Top 10 on the national pop chart.

Per the AP, the song also earned Henry his "Frogman" nickname, which he attributed to local radio DJ Poppa Stoppa as a humorous spinoff from the "Fatman" nickname for fellow New Orleans-based bluesman Fats Domino.

Henry had a few other hits in the late 1950s, including "(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do" and "You Only Hurt the Ones You Love," but was already receding from national prominence when he was picked up by the Beatles as an opening act for several concerts during their first U.S. tour in 1964.

Though he'd been largely relegated to the local nightclub scene on Bourbon St. and jazz festivals since the 1960s, his handful of hits lived on in nearly two dozen film and TV series soundtracks, according to IMDb, including "Diner," "The Lost Boys," and "Casino" for "Ain't Got No Home," as well as "Forrest Gump" for "(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do" and "The Fast and The Furious" with his hit "Evil Ways."

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