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Daniel Johnston and Kramer

Daniel Johnston's 20th century discography is available in full on Bandcamp

20 December 2023, 11:11 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

Daniel Johnston in the 20th Century features Johnston’s first 14 seminal releases stretching from 1980 to 1998, remastered from the original source tapes by Kramer for the first time in 24bit lossless audio.

Compiling a comprehensive archive of Johnston’s early work was a formidable task. Johnston distributed his homemade tapes by hand, passing out copies one by one. When his supply disappeared, Johnston would often borrow back a copy from a friend — transferring a new run of tapes from this second generation dub. In some cases, Johnston was known to re-record an entire album from scratch.

These erratic distribution practices led to the proliferation of multi-generation copies, and variant album versions. The recordings featured on Daniel Johnston in the 20th Century have been meticulously sourced from the best available versions of these releases provided by the Daniel Johnston Estate, and restored for the Estate's archives in collaboration with Shimmy-Disc.

Daniel Johnston in the 20th Century is the first phase of an ongoing project to create a permanent archive for Johnston’s complete recorded output, available to the public on Bandcamp. This ambitious series will continue in 2024 with Daniel Johnston in the 21st Century, which promises a monthly release of 12 titles throughout the year, featuring a subscription option for dedicated fans.

The momentum will continue in 2025 with alternate versions of known Johnston releases - along with newly unearthed archival recordings - including demos, interviews, and live performances.

The emergence of the late singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston during the 1980s is among the most unlikely stories in the history of American popular music. Beginning with his 1981 home-made cassette debut Songs of Pain, Johnston’s emotionally raw music documented his struggles with mental health alongside his search for love and acceptance.

His work was championed by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, and his songs have been recorded by a wide range of artists including Wilco, Flaming Lips, Tom Waits, and Beck.

All 14 seminal albums are now available at and additionally available as “Pay What You Want” until 20 December. 100% of profits go to the Daniel Johnston Estate for the sole purpose of preserving Daniel’s musical and artistic legacy.

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