FILE - In this June 21, 2006 document photo, singer-songwriter invoice Withers poses in his office in Beverly Hills, Calif. Withers, that wrote and also sang a cable of soulful song in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, consisting of “Lean top top Me,” “Lovely Day” and also “Ain’t No Sunshine," died in Los Angeles from love complications top top Monday, march 30, 2020. He was 81. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
FILE - In this June 21, 2006 document photo, singer-songwriter invoice Withers poses in his office in Beverly Hills, Calif. Withers, that wrote and sang a cable of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “Lean top top Me,” “Lovely Day” and also “Ain’t No Sunshine," died in Los Angeles from heart complications on Monday, march 30, 2020. He to be 81. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a cable of soulful song in the 1970s that have stood the check of time, consisting of “ skinny on Me, ” “Lovely Day” and also “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from heart complications, his household said in a statement to The linked Press. He was 81.

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The three-time Grammy award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, the explain said. His fatality comes as the general public has attracted inspiration indigenous his music during the coronavirus pandemic, v health treatment workers, choirs, artist and an ext posting their very own renditions top top “Lean ~ above Me” to help get v the an overwhelming times.

“We are ruined by the ns of our beloved, committed husband and also father. A solitary man with a heart moved to connect to the human being at large, with his poetry and also music, he speak honestly to people and connected castle to each other,” the family members statement read. “As personal a life together he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs come the world. In this challenging time, us pray his music offers comfort and entertainment together fans host tight to loved ones.”


Withers’ songs during his brief career have become the soundtracks of plenty of engagements, weddings and backyard parties. They have an effective melodies and perfect grooves melded v a smooth voice the conveys honesty and facility emotions there is no vocal acrobatics.

“Lean on Me,” a paean come friendship, was performed in ~ the inaugurations that both Barack Obama and also Bill Clinton. “Ain’t No Sunshine” and also “Lean top top Me” are among Rolling Stone’s perform of the 500 greatest Songs of every Time.

“He’s the last African-American Everyman,” musician and also band leader Questlove told Rolling stone in 2015. “Bill Withers is the closest point black people have come a Bruce Springsteen.”

His fatality caused a torrent of appreciation on society media, consisting of from former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who said Withers’ music has been a cherished component of she life. “It included to my joy in the an excellent times, and also gave me comfort and also inspiration once I required it most,” she tweeted.

Billy Dee Williams tweeted “your music cheered my heart and also soothed mine soul” and Chance the Rapper said Withers’ songs space “some of the best songs of every time” and also “my heart really harms for him.” Lenny Kravitz claimed “My soul constantly has and constantly will be full of her music.”

“We lost a large of songwriting today,” ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams claimed in a statement. “Bill Withers’ songs are amongst the most treasured and profound in the American songbook — global in the way they touch human being all end the world, transcending genre and generation. He was a beautiful man with a stunning sense of humor and a gift for truth.”

Withers, who overcame a childhood stutter, to be born the last of six youngsters in the coal mining city of Slab Fork, West Virginia. ~ his parental divorced once he was 3, Withers was increased by his mother’s family members in surrounding Beckley.

He join the navy at 17 and spent ripe years in the service as an aircraft mechanic installation toilets. After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles, operated at an aircraft parts factory, to buy a etc at a pawn shop and also recorded demos that his melody in wishes of landing a record contract.

In 1971, signed come Sussex Records, he placed out his an initial album, “Just as I Am,” v the legendary Booker T. Jones at the helm. It had actually the hits “Grandma’s Hands” and also “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which was influenced by the Jack Lemmon film “Days that Wine and also Roses.” He to be photographed top top the cover, smiling and holding his lunch pail.



Later would certainly come the to mark “ lover Day,” co-written v Skip Scarborough and also featuring Withers holding words “day” for practically 19 seconds, and also “Just the two Of Us,” co-written through Ralph MacDonald and also William Salter. His “Live in ~ Carnegie Hall” in 1973 make Rolling Stone’s 50 greatest Live Albums of all Time.

“The hardest thing in songwriting is to be simple and yet profound. And Bill seemed to understand, intrinsically and instinctively, exactly how to do that,” Sting claimed in “Still Bill,” a 2010 documentary the Withers.

But Withers’ career stalled once Sussex records went bankrupt and also he to be scooped up by Columbia Records. He no longer had complete control over his music and chafed when it was suggested he execute an Elvis cover. His new executives discovered Withers difficult.

None that his Columbia albums reached the top 40 other than for 1977’s “Menagerie,” which produced “Lovely Day.” (His struggle duet with Grover Washington Jr. “Just the two of Us” was on Washington’s label). Withers’ critical album was 1985′s “Watching girlfriend Watching Me.”

Though his songs often dealt with relationships, Withers additionally wrote ones with social commentary, consisting of “Better turn off Dead” around an alcoholic’s suicide, and also “I Can’t compose Left-Handed,” around an hurt Vietnam war veteran.

He to be awarded Grammys together a songwriter for “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971 and also for “Just the 2 Of Us” in 1981. In 1987, Bill got his nine Grammy nomination and third Grammy as a songwriter for the re-recording the the 1972 fight “ lean on Me” by club Nouveau.

He to be inducted into the Rock and Roll room of reputation in 2015 by Stevie Wonder. Withers thanked his wife as well as the R&B pioneers who helped his career choose Ray Jackson, Al Bell and also Booker T. Jones. He also got in a couple of jabs in ~ the record industry, speak A&R stood for “antagonistic and also redundant.” Withers also was inducted into the Songwriters hall of call in 2005.

His music has been spanned by together artists together 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 actually been sampled for BlackStreet’s “No Diggity,” will Smith’s version of “ simply the two Of Us, ” black color Eyed Peas’ “Bridging the Gap” and Twista’s “Sunshine.” The song “Lean on Me” was the title theme of a 1989 movie certification Morgan Freeman.

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His song are regularly used ~ above the big screen, including “The Hangover,” “28 Days,” “American Beauty,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Crooklyn,” “Flight,” “Beauty Shop,” “The an enig Life the Pets” and also “Flight.”

“I’m no a virtuoso, but I had the ability to write song that civilization could identify with. Ns don’t think i have done negative for a male from Slab Fork, West Virginia,” Withers called Rolling rock in 2015.