"Story Of An Artist" as written by and Daniel Johnston....
Listen up and I'll tell a story
About an artist growing old
Some would try for fame and glory
Others aren't so bold

Everyone in friends and family
Sayin "hey get a job
Why do you only do that only
Why are you so odd?

"We don't really like what you do
We don't think anyone ever will
It's a problem that you have
And this problem's made you ill"

Listen up and I'll tell a story
About an artist growing old
Some would try for fame and glory
Others aren't so bold

The artist walks alone
Someone says behind his back
"He's got his gall to call himself that
He doesn't even know where he's at"

The artist walks among the flowers
Appreciating the sun
He does this all his waking hours
But is it really so wrong

They sit in front of their tv
Sayin "hey this is fun"
And they laugh at the artist
Saying "he doesn't know how to have fun"

The best things in life are truly free
Singing birds and laughing bees
You got me wrong says he
The sun don't shine in your tv

Listen up and I'll tell a story
About an artist growing old
Some would try for fame and glory
Others aren't so bold

Everyone in friends and family
Sayin' "hey get a job
Why do you only do that only
Why are you so odd?

"We don't really like what you do
We don't think anyone ever will
It's a problem that you have
And this problem's made you ill"

Listen up and I'll tell a story
About an artist growin' old
Some would try for fame and glory
Others just like to watch the world


Lyrics submitted by calvins_hobbies

"The Story of an Artist" as written by Daniel Johnston

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Story of an Artist song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThats the thing about Daniel Johnston... he's pretty much straightforward with lyrics. They're deep in representation, but shallow in complexity. Either way, what they stand for is meaningful. If you've read a biography or seen the film you'd understand the lyrics in this song about his family finding him odd, or that he ought to get a job doing something else, and that he has a problem thats made him ill. I'm not so much sure which problem, but of all his problems they contributed quite a bit to him being ill. The acid, the depression, the bipolar disorder, etc.. Deep down he was really just a simple guy who wanted to appreciate simple things and express himself to the people that would listen. This song tells that story.
    Steel Baboonon January 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentand Steel Baboon is right. Buuuut, at the same time, we can't blame his family for not wanting to let him sit around in his basement all day. he was an undiagnosed manic depressive for a long time, that would have been hard for them to deal with, obviously.
    shut up hannah.on February 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti tried to find out what the two people were saying in the intro. if anyone has any idea i'd really like to know what they're saying or what they were talking about.
    "it's like"
    "what? what?"
    "i-i i don't know"
    "what's in this room?" or "was it this room?" it's probably neither and i can't really hear it clearly.
    "it's like when you go to read your own poetry you get all choked up."
    twee!on March 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it may be "will you read this for me" (not what's in this room) but i'm not at all sure.....
    goofmasterflashon June 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is so beautiful.i connect to it.
    DebbieNxCon May 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so, so amazing.
    "some would try for fame and glory, others just like to watch the world".


    I think the voices at the start are saying "will you read this for me", too. And then She says something about poetry?
    shut up hannah.on August 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDaniel Johnston, I want to have wild sex with him, his art, his lyrics.
    encodedarcon November 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is so beautiful. i love the piano. seems pretty straightforward, telling the story of a simple artist who doesn't need all the accessories of the world, and is misundertstood because of it. "the sun don't shine in your t.v."..i love it.
    ms. mary annon January 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"it's like when you go to read your own poetry, you get all choked up, you know?"
    shut up hannah.on February 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDaniel felt his art was his purpose; society told him to conform. His own parents blamed his condition on his art, which was his only outlet.

    He sinigs this song to free us all to explore our art.
    LogicalDreameron April 07, 2008   Link

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