This page uses content from the Bill Withers biography page on the English version of Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. This list of authors can be seen in the page history. Rotten Tomatoes disclaims any and all warranties as to the accuracy or reliability of the content.
Bill Withers (born July 4 1938 in Slab Fork, West Virginia) is an American singer-songwriter who performed and recorded from the late 1960s until the mid 1980s.
Bill's father died when he was thirteen. He joined the United States Navy at seventeen, and stayed there for nine years, before he moved to Los Angeles in 1967. While in Los Angeles, he worked in a Ford assembly plant in the day and performed in the jook joints during the night. When he debuted on the music scene with "Ain't No Sunshine" he refused to give up his job at Ford because of his belief that the music business was a fickle industry and that he was still a novice compared to other working acts like The Temptations or Sammy Davis, Jr.
His first success was with the company Sussex Records in 1971 with his debut hit single "Ain't No Sunshine," on the album Just As I Am. His second album Still Bill also did well on the charts. It included the well-known single "Lean on Me". His live album, Bill Withers, Live at Carnegie Hall, released in 1972 was one of the best live albums to be released during the 1970s.
He has released albums from 1971 to 1985. Other popular songs he sings are "Use Me" and "Lovely Day," as well as "Just the Two of Us," which he performed with jazz saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.
His songs have been covered by many singers and rappers. Club Nouveau's 1986 cover of "Lean on Me," which is now often used in many churches, earned Withers his third Grammy as a songwriter. Ten years earlier, the British glam rock band Mud took the song to No 7 in the UK pop charts. Withers' song "Use Me" has been covered by Grace Jones, Hootie and the Blowfish, Mick Jagger/Lenny Kravitz, Better Than Ezra and Fiona Apple. In addition, Apple also covered "Kissing My Love" on her 1998 tour. Me'Shell NdegeOcello sang "Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?" on her 1996 album Peace Beyond Passion, and Will Smith samples his songs "Just the Two of Us" in his 1997 song of the same name and "Lovely Day" with the song "Lovely Daze" with DJ Jazzy Jeff, in which it was unreleased on one of their albums but later released on their compilation album. Blackstreet sampled his song Grandma's Hands for their hit No Diggity. Country singer Kenny Rogers covered "Ain't No Sunshine" in 1999, as did Paul McCartney on 1991's Unplugged (The Official Bootleg). Kanye West sampled his song "Rosie" in the song "Roses." Twista sampled "Lovely Day" in the hit single "Sunshine" featuring Anthony Hamilton. T.W.D.Y and Too Short sampled "Lovely Day", in the song, "Playa's Holiday." Over the Rhine toured a cover of "Ain't no Sunshine" during 2004 and recorded this on their album Changes Come. When playing live, Eskimo Joe often start "A Song is a City" with Kav singing "Ain't No Sunshine" as a prelude. His song "Use Me" is also featured on Anchorman.
The start of the Blackstreet hit No Diggity features a sample of his poem-turned-song "Grandma's Hands".
To this day, his most popular songs, including "Use Me", "Lovely Day," "Lean On Me", "Just the Two of Us" & "Ain't No Sunshine," have been used in countless television advertisements, thereby increasing his popularity as a well-respected artist. He remains one of the most significant and respected singer/songwriters of the 20th Century. Some of his songs, particularly "Lean on Me", have been performed often in churches because of their lyrics about spiritual topics or people uniting.
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