Daniel Dale Johnston (born January 22, 1961) is an American musician and artist. He has a strong cult following and is today the most well known [[OutsiderMusic "outsider musician"]]. Johnston is usually known for his lo-fi recordings from the 1980s, his most popular album being ''Music/HiHowAreYou?'', released in 1983. He received a ColbertBump when Music/KurtCobain wore a Johnston T-shirt and named Johnston's ''Music/YipJumpMusic'' one of his favorite albums. Other [[BigNameFan famous Johnston fans]] are Creator/MattGroening, Creator/JohnnyDepp, Music/TomWaits, Music/DavidBowie, Music/{{Beck}}, Eddie Vedder (Music/PearlJam), Music/YoLaTengo and Music/SonicYouth. In fact, many of those even recorded a tribute album for him. Johnston is also notable enough to have a documentary devoted to him: "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" (2005).

Along with writing music, he is also an artist/cartoonist, who designs his own album covers. In a sad literal case of the MadArtist trope, Johnston has been diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and has been in and out of mental institutions. He suffered many [[CreatorBreakdown breakdowns]]. His most memorable one was a literal breakdown in 1990 where he caused his fathers plane to crash. Fortunately, both survived the crash only mildly injured. His 1983 album ''Music/HiHowAreYou'' also remained unfinished due to a mental breakdown.

It's tempting to see Daniel as TheWoobie for all the hardships he endured. He is also an [[ThisLoserIsYou identifiable loser]] [[OneOfUs geek]] who shares a love for comic books, music and old horror movies, pioneered home-recorded music and spent most of his life in his parents' house, cartooning and recording music, while suffering from unrequited love, loneliness and mental problems. He is a prototype of the [[StarvingArtist Struggling Artist]], though on the other hand he did manage to make a career and gain some notability and respect in the AlternativeRock scene. Compared to other OutsiderMusic he is actually quite a capable musician on piano, guitar and mouth harmonica.

Albums with their own page:
* ''Music/HiHowAreYou'' (1983)
* ''Music/YipJumpMusic'' (1983)

!! ''Let me tell you about an artist...''
* AccentuateTheNegative: His songs about being unrequited by society or loved ones are quite moving.
* AlternativeRock: One of the cult musicians in the genre.
* AnnualTitle: ''1990'' was released in 1990.
* AuthorAppeal: Comic books, unrequited love, UsefulNotes/JesusChrist, Music/TheBeatles, ''WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost'', and [=McDonald's=].
* BuffySpeak: From ''More Dead Than Alive''
--> ''I walked up to this psychological man, I said I got this problem about this coffin.''
* CatchPhrase: ''Hi, how are you?''
* CarefulWithThatAxe: in "Don't Play Cards With Satan",(1990 version) Daniel, shouts at the top of his lungs for 2 instances of the word "Satan" .
-->I heard the voice of [[Music/ButtholeSurfers SATAN!!!! ]]Crying in the woods...
* CradleOfLoneliness: Daniel spent most of his life in his parents' house, because he is too mentally unstable to live on his own. Many of his songs deal with loneliness, rejection, lovesickness, breakups,... but at the same time can offer a voice of hope.
* CutShort: He recorded most of his early songs on home made cassette recordings. As a result a lot of songs end quite abrupt or with audible cuts. Especially the final track of each album also has an ending CutShort.
* {{Deconstruction}}: His entire oeuvre is about what it actually means to be a {{Woobie}} and a {{Cloudcuckoolander}}.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: Many songs are about unrequited love.
* TheDogBitesBack: "No More Pushing Joe Around" seems to be about a man who's fed up with the world and decides to fight back.
-->''No more pushing Joe around\\
No more pushing Joe around\\
There'll be no more pushing Joe around\\
He's up and punching now''
* FadingIntoTheNextSong: His early recordings were made on cassette, thus naturally fade into each other.
* FriendlyGhost: Daniel has a love for the character ''WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost'', whom he refers to often on his album covers and his songs.
* GodIsLoveSongs: "God".
* {{Homage}}: "The Beatles", "King Kong", "Caspar The Friendly Ghost",...
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: He became extraordinarily influential on lo-fi music ''because'' of his AuthorAppeal.
* MadArtist: Sad real-life example. He has both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and has been in and out of mental institutions.
* MoodWhiplash: In the album ''1990'', the previously mentioned ''Don't Play Cards With Satan'' ends with Daniel screaming "SATAN!!" at the top of his lungs. The next track is the happy and uplifting ''True Love Will Find You In The End''
* NeverAcceptedInHisHometown: "The Story Of An Artist".
* NewSoundAlbum: Daniel's earlier albums mainly featured songs that were played on a piano. 1991's ''Artistic Vice'' did not feature any piano at all.
** Most of his albums from 1979-88 (excluding 1985's ''Continued Story'') were recorded on a cassette recorder, since his album ''1990'', his albums have been professionally produced in studios.
* OutsiderMusic: One of the more well known musicians in the genre.
* PepTalkSong: "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Grievances", "Get Yourself Together", "Hey Joe".
* {{Rockumentary}}: ''The Devil and Daniel Johnston''.
* TheStoner: He is openly fond of Marihuana, and advertises it in songs such as ''Rock This Town''.
* TropeMaker: Of home-recorded indie music.
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: On guitar, Daniel pretty much only plays very basic chords, and a lot of his guitar songs only use the G,C, and D chords. Still, he has an ear for melody and is more capable as a musician than many of his colleagues in the OutsiderMusic genre.
* TheTysonZone: Falls into this as a there's a lot of stories of him escaping mental institutions and the like.
* VerbalTic: In interviews, Dan tends to say "you know" a lot.
* VocalEvolution: Dan's voice changed a lot over the years. In the early 80s, his singing voice was almost boyish (listen to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOLNJ5s-S4c this recording of "To Go Home"]] off 1982's ''The What of Whom'', in which he sounds like a 12-year-old, he was 21 during the recording of the song.). By the late 90s, his voice had changed dramatically, probably due to chain smoking and losing most of his teeth during one of his breakdowns.
* TheUnintelligible: Daniel mumbles so much on the track ''Hot Water'', from the 1979 tapes, that it seems like he isn't even singing in English.