West Virginia-raised musician and artist Daniel Johnston died this week at the age of 58. Known best for his earnest and harrowing lo-fi pop songs, Johnston remained an underground hero for most of his life. His influence, though, continues to stretch across musical and artistic genres -- and around the world.
Whether you’ve heard of Daniel Johnston or not, here’s a quick warning: There’s really no way to fully condense his life and work into a few minutes worth of radio or a short written article.
There are full-length documentaries for that -- films that show a brilliant, yet tortured person. There are flashes of genius interspersed with dark stories about psychotic episodes, bad hallucinogenic trips, and unrequited love.
In the backdrop, of course, are songs that have inspired countless people.