NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - It was a long night evolving into an early morning at the popular nightclub
on Huey P. Long Avenue in Gretna and Clarence Henry was getting tired. Besides, he was still a
student at LAB, Landry High School, on the West Bank and he needed to get home.
But, he recalled in an interview with the Times-Picayune years later, the crowd would not leave. "I
was actually too young to be performing in that place, much less so early in the morning. They just
kept dancing and partying and asking for more and more. I gave them every song I knew," he recalled.
"I just looked out at one point, about 2 a.m. or so, and wondered to myself why all these people were
still here and why they just don't go home so I could go home and get some sleep," Henry said.
Out of that experience came the Henry classic, Ain't Got No Home, considered one of the
historic milestones in the evolution of "New Orleans Rhythm and Blues" into "American Rock and Roll".
A short time later he recorded at Cosimo Matassa's legendary French Quarter studio, the song that has
become his worldwide trademark. Not only a classic catchy novelty item, it also showcased Henry's
remarkable vocal range and quickly earned him the nickname 'Frogman', the name by which he is known
and revered around the globe.
Born in New Orleans in 1937, Henry has musically traveled and conquered the world, but still calls
New Orleans home, living for years on the West Bank of the Mississippi River.
The trademark song and a 1955 recording effort, Lonely Tramp, also self penned, quickly
propelled Henry into the national spotlight and an appearance at the Apollo Theater in New York in
It was a rapid rise from a high schooler who had tested his vocal chops a few months before the
initial 1955 recording, when he stepped away from playing trombone to handle some vocal chores at a
Landry school dance, filling in for the equally legendary and late Bobby Mitchell. Mitchell and
Henry and other high school chums had formed a high school band, "The Toppers", which began with
Henry in the horn section before doing vocals for an ailing Mitchell. It wasn't long before the two
buddies were taking the Algiers ferry together across the river to make records at Manassas' studio.
After the Apollo appearance, Henry, like so many singers of the time, joined many of the various
traveling musical caravans and his records quickly made their way to England, where a group of
"youngsters" began listening to them and emulating the sounds of American rock and roll.
He scored huge national hits in 1961 with I Don't Know Why, still one of his most requested
songs around the world and You Always Hurt The One You Love. The smash success of I Don't
Know Why and Ain't Got No Home, landed Henry a spot on the nationally televised "American
Bandstand" show hosted by Dick Clark.
By 1964 a group of those British youngsters made a historic debut at Shea Stadium in New York. They
called themselves "The Beatles" and had a hit I Wanna Hold Your Hand. They invited one of
their U.S. musical heroes, 'Frogman' Henry, to open the Shea Stadium show. He went on to open 18
more Beatles' shows in the U.S. and around the world.
"Being on the same stage and performing with The Beatles was the high light of my life and career.
They were all so gracious and kind. I loved them all, but there was a special bond between Paul and
me; he was a soul brother", Henry said.
Henry still tours, plays private events and is a much beloved regular each year at the New
Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Henry was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Living Legend Award in
2002. He has also received the New Orleans Big Easy Entertainment award and the Armstrong Cultural
Ambassador to New Orleans award.
His trademark song still sells and has sold millions over the years around the world. His recording
of But I Do went gold.
Ain't Got No Home took on a somewhat strange new life in the past few years with nationally
syndicated radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who began playing it every day as a theme to a segment
of his show dealing with the homeless Americans.
His music has been featured in numerous movie soundtracks including the hugely popular "Forest Gump"
and that soundtrack alone has sold over 8 million copies worldwide. His recorded work is heard in
the movies "Diner", "Lost Boys", "Casino", "Raised in Harlem" and "Mickey Blue Eyes". During the
filming of "Forest Gump", he spent time in California on the movie set.
On January 25, 2003, Henry was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame
in Port Arthur, Texas.
Clarence 'Frogman' Henry, whose Ain't Got No Home is one of the most enduring anthems from
the golden age of New Orleans rhythm and blues, received the WWOZ-FM LIVING LEGEND award on February
7, 2003 while in South Carolina on tour.
On February 20, 2003, he was awarded the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in New York.
Clarence 'Frogman' Henry was inducted into the Westbank Music Hall of Fame on October 26, 2003.
Mr. Henry has had the honor and pleasure of entertaining President George Bush, Sr. as well as
touring and performing on stage with Tina Turner, Dr. John, Professor Longhair, Jerry Butler, James
Brown, Little Richard, Bonnie Rait and many other outstanding artists.
On April 2, 2005, Mr. Henry was inducted in the Delta Music Hall of Fame in Ferriday, LA. Clarence was
inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame® on May 9, 2005.