Indie singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, 58, died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. Kurt Cobain was a big fan of Johnston’s self-released lo-fi cassettes and often wore a T-shirt featuring the cover of his Hi/How Are You album. Johnston, who had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was the subject of a record label bidding war in the ‘90s despite being confined to a psychiatric hospital at the time.
Although not a household name himself, Johnston did end up intersecting with and influencing the music mainstream several times throughout his career. His music has been covered by such well-known artists as Beck, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie and Lana Del Rey, who (along with rapper Mac Miller) also co-executive produced a documentary short about the singer-songwriter, 2015’s Hi, How Are You Daniel Johnston?
The resident of Austin, Texas and West Virginia was the subject of a 2005 documentary film, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, and a 2004 tribute album, ironically titled The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered, which featured his songs done by Beck, Death Cab for Cutie, Tom Waits, TV on the Radio, Eels, Bright Eyes and others.