Daniel Johnston's Frog Jeremiah: Now a Collector's Item

June 25, 2008 12:53 PM ET

The googly-eyed amphibian known as Jeremiah the Frog of Innocence has been associated with eccentric singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston since the creature first appeared on the cover of his 1986 album Hi, How Are You. A few years later, Johnston pained a mural of Jeremiah in Austin (fans fought to save it in 2004 when the building was threatened with demolition), and the toad's image was memoralized on T-shirts favored by Kurt Cobain. Now you can own your very own Jeremiah — white, green and orange figurines have been produced in limited editions of 250 by New York history teacher/artist Jeffrey Newman.

"I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to find another way to connect to and support some of the artists I admired," Newman says. "One evening I was having a conversation with Ron English, another popular artist and longtime friend of Dan's, and we concluded that a toy needed to be made for Daniel. I had no idea if they would go for it. It's been a total joy and humbling seeing how excited Dan was when I brought him the first prototype."

Newman developed Jeremiah and released it via his company, At Arms Ltd; the frog is now up for sale at the Whitney museum store and Johnston's own site, as well as other toy and music shops. Johnston's own work was featured in the 2006 Whitney Bienniel exhibition, and the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which tracked the singer's battle with bipolar disorder, came out that year, as well.

Related Stories:
Johnston Frog Mural Saved
Beck, Waits Cover Johnston
Daniel Johnston Makes Seattle Debut

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »