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29th January 2023

American Soul Singer, Bill Withers Dies At 81

American Soul Singer, Bill Withers Dies At 81
American Soul Singer, Bill Withers Dies At 81

Bill Withers, an American soul singer popularly known for his 1970’s hit song ‘ain’t no sunshine’ has died from heart complications, aged 81 according to a statement by his family.

Other hit songs by Withers include; ‘Lovely Day’, ‘Lean on Me’ and ‘Just the two of us’.

Late Bill Withers has had many artists pouring out their hearts on the social media in a bid to pay their last respect to the man who some of them regard as their inspiration.

The legendary singer, Bill Withers known for hits like “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone,” died on Monday, but his family announced his passing on Friday with a touching statement.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” the statement read. 

“A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other…his music forever belongs to the world. 

In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”

Bill Withers influenced countless artists and his song, “Lean on Me” was performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama.

“What few songs I wrote during my brief career, there ain’t a genre that somebody didn’t record them in. I’m not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with. I don’t think I’ve done bad for a guy from Slab Fork, West Virginia,” he told Rolling Stone in a 2014 interview.

Withers’ career only started when he was in his 30s, and in 1985, after releasing eight albums, he left the music business behind and lived privately.

Questlove talked to Rolling Stone about Withers’ everlasting influence.

“He’s the last African-American Everyman. Jordan’s vertical jump has to be higher than everyone. Michael Jackson has to defy gravity. On the other side of the coin, we’re often viewed as primitive animals. We rarely land in the middle. Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.”

Withers’ career was initially molded and influenced by Lou Rawls, who he saw perform at an Oakland nightclub while he was a factory worker.

Withers remembered the moment he saw Rawls:

“He was late, and the manager was pacing back and forth. I remember him saying, ‘I’m paying this guy $2,000 a week and he can’t show up on time.’ I was making $3 an hour, looking for friendly women, but nobody found me interesting. Then Rawls walked in, and all these women are talking to him.”

That prompted Withers to get a guitar and teach himself how to play.

One of his demo tapes made it into an exec’s office at Sussex records. “Ain’t No Sunshine” was one of the first songs he wrote that was a huge hit. Withers apparently wrote it after watching the 1962 movie Days Of Wine and Roses.

About his fate, Withers told _Rolling Stone in 2015: “Imagine 40,000 people at a stadium watching a football game. About 10,000 of them think they can play quarterback. Three of them probably could. I guess I was one of those three.”

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