daniel johnston Beam Me Up! (CD, £11.95)label: Hazelwood
Following his recordings for labels like Homestead, Shimmy Disc, Atlantic, Trikont and Sketchbook, Daniel Johnston's "Beam Me Up!" was created in November 2009, recorded and produced with a veritable orchestra in the Netherlands. Daniel Johnston was born on the shore of Sacramento River at the onset of the historic '60s. In the early '80s he started to record his shy songs on cassette. Soon after that, his oddly moving songs were sold at a local record shop and the then young music station MTV featured him in 1985, attracting the attention of the American Underground. Soon, many artists were wanting to record songs by and with him. But, his condition got in the way of his career. Manic depression, medication, blackouts and excesses have severe consequences. A visit to a Sonic Youth concert in New York ended up in disaster. He frightened a woman (whom he believed to be possessed by the devil) so much that she jumped out of a window and broke both her legs. On his return from the Austin Music Awards he caused a crash by removing the ignition key from his fatherīs small aircraft mid-flight. Father and son survived only slightly hurt. Daniel gained his widest public exposure to date when, at the 1992 MTV Music Awards, Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain (who constantly touted Daniel in interviews) wore a Johnston T-shirt. The "Hi, How Are You?" drawing is still a cult object for shirts and graffiti. Subsequently he signed with Atlantic Records and released "Fun" in 1994, selling only a few thousand copies. Once more his career started to fade, even though his status as a genius songwriter and cult figure is established in the art scene, and for connoisseurs of music. David Bowie, Beck, Eels, Bright Eyes, TV On The Radio, Sonic Youth, Death Cab For Cutie, Tom Waits, The Flaming Lips, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and many others have interpreted his merciless songs.
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