April 3, 2020, - 12:58 pm

Bill Withers, Great American Singer & Patriot, RIP

By Debbie Schlussel

Bill Withers, one of my favorite singers, has died at the age of 81. He was a great talent, served his country, and one of the people who made America great.

Withers’ songs were soulful, uplifting, and became a part of the soundtrack of America for the last half-century. Although he’s best known for “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” and “Use Me,” his “Lovely Day” is one of my favorite songs and has been covered by many artists. He wrote all of those songs (he co-wrote “Lovely Day”), and also co-wrote the Grover Washington, Jr. hit, “Just the Two of Us.”

I’ll never forget his smooth, soulful, easy voice, especially in “Lovely Day.” I could listen to that song on replay all day long, especially with everything that’s happening with the COVID-19 virus, right now.

Withers is really exemplary of the American story. He was born to a working class family in a West Virginia mining town. He was the youngest of six children, and his father, a coal miner, died when he was only twelve. He proudly served in the U.S. Navy for nine years. Then, he moved to Los Angeles and worked very hard to make it in show business. By day, he worked the assembly line at aircraft factories. And by night, he performed at clubs and made demo tapes of his music. Withers overcame a stutter to become a fantastic live and recorded artist/singer. He often decried the “Blaxperts” in the music business who tried to tell him what to do and how to be.

He was sometimes referred to as the Black Bruce Springsteen, but in reality, Springsteen couldn’t even be called the White Bill Withers. The overrated Springsteen’s not even close to the tremendous talent that Bill Withers was.

Withers had three Gold records and three Gold singles, and he won three Grammy Awards with nine nominations.

Bill Withers, Great American, Rest In Peace.

Learn more about Bill Withers in his own words in the videos below.

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5 Responses

Wow, he had some serious hits. I hear them on the smooth jazz channel. Bill will be missed

Daniel Hurd on April 4, 2020 at 8:45 am

Thank you for this beautiful tribute and for ncluding the music videos.

Dina Kim on April 4, 2020 at 9:01 am

Well written, Debbie. R.I.P. Mr. Withers.

DB on April 4, 2020 at 9:07 am

Thank you Debbie,

It brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye.

Phil Lipofsky on April 4, 2020 at 9:23 am

Thanks for that ! “lean on me” always takes me back to a hot summer day working on our stock car, its a goin’ racin’ song for me.

john and linda robel family on April 4, 2020 at 2:10 pm

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