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‘Lean On Me,’ ‘Lovely Day’ singer Bill Withers dies at 81

‘Lean On Me,’ ‘Lovely Day’ singer Bill Withers dies at 81


Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs within the 1970s which have stood the check of time, together with “ Lean on Me, ” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from coronary heart problems, his household mentioned in an announcement to The Associated Press. He was 81.

The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music within the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, the assertion mentioned. His demise comes as the general public has drawn inspiration from his music throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with well being care employees, choirs, artists and extra posting their very own renditions on “Lean on Me” to assist get via the troublesome occasions.

“We are devastated by the lack of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a coronary heart pushed to hook up with the world at massive, together with his poetry and music, he spoke truthfully to individuals and related them to one another,” the household assertion learn. “As non-public a life as he lived near intimate household and mates, his music eternally belongs to the world. In this troublesome time, we pray his music presents consolation and leisure as followers maintain tight to family members.”

Withers’ songs throughout his temporary profession have develop into the soundtracks of numerous engagements, weddings and yard events. They have highly effective melodies and ideal grooves melded with a clean voice that conveys honesty and complicated feelings with out vocal acrobatics.

“Lean on Me,” a paean to friendship, was carried out on the inaugurations of each Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” are amongst Rolling Stone’s checklist of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“He’s the final African-American Everyman,” musician and band chief Questlove informed Rolling Stone in 2015. “Bill Withers is the closest factor black individuals need to a Bruce Springsteen.”

His demise induced a torrent of appreciation on social media, together with from former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who mentioned Withers’ music has been a cherished a part of her life. “It added to my pleasure within the good occasions, and likewise gave me consolation and inspiration after I wanted it most,” she tweeted.

Billy Dee Williams tweeted “your music cheered my coronary heart and soothed my soul” and Chance the Rapper mentioned Withers’ songs are “among the finest songs of all time” and “my coronary heart actually hurts for him.” Lenny Kravitz mentioned “My soul at all times has and at all times will likely be stuffed with your music.”

“We misplaced an enormous of songwriting at present,” ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams mentioned in an announcement. “Bill Withers’ songs are among the many most treasured and profound within the American songbook — common in the way in which they contact individuals all around the world, transcending style and technology. He was a gorgeous man with a surprising humorousness and a present for reality.”

Withers, who overcame a childhood stutter, was born the final of six kids within the coal mining city of Slab Fork, West Virginia. After his dad and mom divorced when he was three, Withers was raised by his mom’s household in close by Beckley.

He joined the Navy at 17 and spent 9 years within the service as an plane mechanic putting in bathrooms. After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles, labored at an plane elements manufacturing unit, purchased a guitar at a pawn store and recorded demos of his tunes in hopes of touchdown a recording contract.

In 1971, signed to Sussex Records, he put out his first album, “Just As I Am,” with the legendary Booker T. Jones on the helm. It had the hits “Grandma’s Hands” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which was impressed by the Jack Lemmon movie “Days of Wine and Roses.” He was photographed on the duvet, smiling and holding his lunch pail.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” was initially launched because the B-side of his debut single, “Harlem.” But radio DJs flipped the disc and the tune climbed to No. three on the Billboard charts and spent a complete of 16 weeks within the high 40.

Withers went on to generate extra hits a yr later with the inspirational “Lean on Me,” the menacing “Who Is He (and What Is He to You)” and the slinky “Use Me” on his second album, “Still Bill.”

Later would come the putting “ Lovely Day,” co-written with Skip Scarborough and that includes Withers holding the phrase “day” for nearly 19 seconds, and “Just the Two Of Us,” co-written with Ralph MacDonald and William Salter. His “Live at Carnegie Hall” in 1973 made Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time.

“The hardest factor in songwriting is to be easy and but profound. And Bill appeared to know, intrinsically and instinctively, how to try this,” Sting mentioned in “Still Bill,” a 2010 documentary of Withers.

But Withers’ profession stalled when Sussex Records went bankrupt and he was scooped up by Columbia Records. He now not had full management over his music and chafed when it was instructed he do an Elvis cowl. His new executives discovered Withers troublesome.

None of his Columbia albums reached the Top 40 aside from 1977’s “Menagerie,” which produced “Lovely Day.” (His hit duet with Grover Washington Jr. “Just the Two of Us” was on Washington’s label). Withers’ final album was 1985′s “Watching You Watching Me.”

Though his songs typically handled relationships, Withers additionally wrote ones with social commentary, together with “Better Off Dead” about an alcoholic’s suicide, and “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” about an injured Vietnam War veteran.

He was awarded Grammys as a songwriter for “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971 and for “Just the Two Of Us” in 1981. In 1987, Bill acquired his ninth Grammy nomination and third Grammy as a songwriter for the re-recording of the 1972 hit “ Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 by Stevie Wonder. Withers thanked his spouse in addition to the R&B pioneers who helped his profession like Ray Jackson, Al Bell and Booker T. Jones. He additionally bought in just a few jabs on the file business, saying A&R stood for “antagonistic and redundant.” Withers additionally was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.

His music has been coated by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Linda Ronstadt, Paul McCartney, Sting, Johnny Mathis, Aaron Neville, Al Jarreau, Mick Jagger, Nancy Wilson, Diana Ross. His music has been sampled for BlackAvenue’s “No Diggity,” Will Smith’s model of “ Just the Two Of Us, ” Black Eyed Peas’ “Bridging the Gap” and Twista’s “Sunshine.” The tune “Lean on Me” was the title theme of a 1989 film starring Morgan Freeman.

His songs are sometimes used on the large display screen, together with “The Hangover,” “28 Days,” “American Beauty,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Crooklyn,” “Flight,” “Beauty Shop,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Flight.”

“I’m not a virtuoso, however I used to be in a position to write songs that folks might establish with. I don’t assume I’ve performed dangerous for a man from Slab Fork, West Virginia,” Withers informed Rolling Stone in 2015.

He is survived by his spouse, Marcia, and kids, Todd and Kori.

The put up ‘Lean On Me,’ ‘Lovely Day’ singer Bill Withers dies at 81 appeared first on The Himalayan Times.


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