Legendary Singer/Songwriter Bill Withers Dies At 81
While all the news as of late has been sad, its with a heavy heart that we have to pass on this bit of bad news as legendary singer and songwriter Bill Withers has died at the age of 81.
According to The Associated Press, Withers family says that the 3 time Grammy winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles from heart complications. His death is not COVID-19 related.
Withers wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “ Lean On Me, ” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” was born in West Virginia and joined the Navy at 17, spent nine years in the service as an aircraft mechanic installing toilets. After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles, worked at an aircraft parts factory, bought a guitar at a pawn shop and recorded demos of his tunes in hopes of landing a recording contract.
In 1971, he signed to Sussex Records and put out his first album, “Just As I Am,” which spawned the hits "Grandma's Hands" and the classic "Aint No Sunshine". The latter earned him a Grammy in 1972. A year later, he released his second album "Still Bill" featuring the eternal "Lean On Me" and "Use Me".
Withers run would continue in 1975 after changing labels, he released several albums before striking gold again in 1977 with another classic "Lovely Day".
Withers would score another classic hit in 1980 with the help of jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. for "Just The Two Of Us".
Unhappy with label issues, Withers virtually disappeared from the music scene in the 1980's and 1990's despite his songs being covered and sampled by dozens of artists and garnering award nominations.
Withers started making appearance and performance in the early 2000's when "Lean On Me" was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame and Withers was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame in 2015.
“Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.” - Questlove in Rolling Stone 2015
He is survived by his wife, Marcia, and children, Todd and Kori. We send our heartfelt condolences the Withers Family and all of his friends and fans.