Daniel Johnston: Tiny Desk Concert A troubled soul with a talent for writing honest, disarmingly direct songs, Johnston performs in the NPR Music offices. His short set closes with one of his classics: "True Love Will Find You in the End."

Tiny Desk

Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/154589998/154749058" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Daniel Johnston is a troubled soul with a talent for writing honest, disarmingly direct songs. Kurt Cobain famously wore a T-shirt with the title of a Johnston cassette on it, while Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips ranks among his many musical admirers. M. Ward, Beck and countless others have covered his songs.

Johnston has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and he's been institutionalized, but these days he travels and performs. It's amazing to see and hear a spark of candor in what he does, all while he's shaking like a scared child. There's an odd sort of curiosity to watching Johnston perform, but it's easy to root for him: He's endearing and sloppy and unmistakably talented. His talents extend to drawings, which can be found in issue No. 1 of a comic book called Space Ducks; the project has also spawned an album and an app. That app is filled with Johnston's animated drawings and songs, as well as the voices of some of his famous friends.

Performing at the NPR Music offices, Johnston is joined here by friend and accompanist Shai Halperin, who doubles as the recording artist known as Sweet Lights.

Set List:

  • "Mean Girls Give Pleasure"
  • "Sense Of Humor"
  • "American Dream"
  • "True Love Will Find You In The End"

Credits:

Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Claire O'Neill/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Spillage Village plays a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Spillage Village (Home) Concert

Let the Atlanta hip-hop collective take you to church in its Tiny Desk quarantine video.

Christone "KINGFISH" Ingram plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Kingfish (Home) Concert

The blues prodigy performs a special Tiny Desk show at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss.

Gracie and Rachel perform a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Gracie And Rachel (Home) Concert

The pop-meet-classical duo perform a quarantine concert from their New York City apartment.

Ozuna plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Ozuna (Home) Concert

Global superstar Ozuna performs five songs in quarantine for Tiny Desk.

Bebel Gilberto plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Bebel Gilberto (Home) Concert

Two members of Brazilian musical royalty unite for a special Tiny Desk quarantine performance (and a heck of a view).

Carlos Vives plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Carlos Vives (Home) Concert

Colombian actor and singer Carlos Vives has been performing Latin American hits for almost 30 years. His Tiny Desk (home) concert is part of our Hispanic Heritage Month extravaganza.

Lido Pimienta plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Lido Pimienta (Home) Concert

The Polaris Music Prize winner kicks off our week-long Tiny Desk celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Flaming Lips perform a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

The Flaming Lips (Home) Concert

Wayne Coyne has been preparing for this era of social distancing for 10 years. Watch The Flaming Lips perform in bubbles for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Angel Olsen plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Angel Olsen (Home) Concert

The singer-songwriter performs four songs on her porch in Asheville, N.C., for Tiny Desk's quarantine series.

Little Big Town plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Little Big Town (Home) Concert

Little Big Town, one of the biggest bands in country music, perform a Tiny Desk quarantine show, and they bring the hits.

Back To Top