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Bill Withers

Songwriter, Artist
"Lean On Me," "Ain't No Sunshine," "Just the Two of Us," "Lovely Day"

Songwriter, Artist - "Lean On Me," "Ain't No Sunshine," "Just the Two of Us," "Lovely Day"

In a recording career that lasted only 15 years, Bill Withers mastered the vocabularies of the acoustic singer-songwriter, R&B, disco and even mainstream jazz, while maintaining a distinctive personality as a composer and vocalist. A 33-year-old Navy veteran when he had his first hit, Withers remained detached from the hype and nonsense of show business and walked away for good when commercial interests tried to interfere with his art. But what a legacy he left behind: the bittersweet “Ain’t No Sunshine” was a breakout smash in 1971, produced by Booker T. Jones, with backing from Stephen Stills and the MG’s. With his second album, Withers moved onto the funkier territory of “Use Me” and his most enduring hit, “Lean On Me.” Over the next few years Withers scored hits with pop (“Lovely Day”) and duets with several jazz musicians, including “Just The Two Of Us” with Grover Washington Jr. When Withers dropped out of the music industry, his songs stayed alive. Meshell Ndegeocello had a Number One dance hit with Withers’ “Who Is He (And What Is He To You).” Club Noveau brought a cover of “Lean On Me” to the top of the pop charts. The Number One “No Diggity” by BLACKstreet with Dr. Dre sampled Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands.” Withers’ songs have been covered by an astonishing range of artists – from the Temptations to Garth Brooks, Anne Murray to Mary J. Blige, Gil Scott-Heron to Widespread Panic, along with Isaac Hayes, Fiona Apple, Big Daddy Kane, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Aaron Neville, Mick Jagger & Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys & Rob Thomas, Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow, Michael Stipe & Brian Eno and the cast of GLEE. Stubbornly his own man, Bill Withers wrote songs that spoke for everyone.