Bill Withers - Songs


Bill Withers (July 4, 1938 - March 30, 2020) was a highly acclaimed smooth soul singer-songwriter with a rich, soothing baritone and a great deal of crossover appeal who became famous during the 1970s. His best known songs include the lovelorn "Ain't No Sunshine" (1971), the heartwarming, gospel-influenced "Lean On Me" (1972), and the upbeat, jazz-infused "Just The Two Of Us" (1981).

Born William Harrison Withers Jr. in the small coal mining town of? Slab Fork, West Virginia as the youngest of six siblings, he began singing and writing songs while serving in the U.S. Navy where he enlisted at age 17 and served for nine years. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1967 to launch his music career where he recorded demos, taught himself the guitar, and performed in local nightclubs while working as an assembler for Douglas Aircraft Corporation and several other companies. By 1970, one of Withers' demo tapes had caught the attention of Clarence Avant, the owner of Sussex Records, who signed him to a contract and arranged for Booker T. Jones to produce his debut album, "Just As I Am." Withers later moved to Columbia in 1975 after Sussex Records folded.

Bill Withers debuted in 1971 with "Ain't No Sunshine," a Top 5 hit on both the Adult Contemporary and Pop/Rock charts that made the R&B Top 10, became his first million-seller, and won him a Grammy for Best R&B Song. His fame continued to take off in 1972 with "Lean On Me," which topped both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts, made the Adult Contemporary Top 5, and became his signature song. Withers' long string of mostly self-penned hits, which continued on all three major charts through 1985, also included "Grandma's Hands" (1971), "Use Me" (1972), "Let Us Love" (1972), "The Gift Of Loving" (1972), "Kissing My Love" (1973), "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" (1974), and "Lovely Day" (1977). With jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr., Withers had his other greatest hit in 1981 with "Just The Two Of Us" (1981), which reached the Top 5 on all three charts and earned him his second Grammy for Best R&B Song. This smash was followed by several hits that included the Grammy-nominated "In The Name Of Love" (1984), "Oh Yeah!" (1985), and "Something That Turns You On" (1985), his final charting song in the U.S. "Lovely Day" later had a resurgence in popularity when a remix of the song reached #4 on the U.K. charts in 1988.

After Withers left Columbia in 1985 over artistic differences, he had largely retired from the music business, although he served as a guest vocalist on various recordings and made a number of concert appearances over the years. Many of his classic songs went on to become top hits for other artists, and he won his third Grammy in 1988 as songwriter for Club Nouveau's re-recording of "Lean On Me." Withers' numerous honors and accolades also included the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award (2006) and being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (2005) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2015). In addition, "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean On Me" were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and 2007, respectively.



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Bill Withers

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