Award winning Hall of Fame artist Bill Withers died April 3, 2020 at the age of 81 in Los Angeles as a result of heart problems. There was no mention of any connection to the Covid-19 virus.
Withers was best know for his songs “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Lean on Me”, “Lovely Day’, “Use Me”, and “Just the Two of Us”.
Questlove referred to Withers as, “the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.”
Wither is a three time Grammy Award winner and a member of the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame. Other accomplishments include the “Soul Train” Hall of Fame, the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, and four honourary doctorate degrees.
His music has been covered by some of the biggest names in the business including Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Sir Tom Jones, Linda Ronstadt, Sir Paul McCartney, Sting, Johnny Mathis, Al Jarreau, Sir Mick Jagger, Nancy Wilson, and Diana Ross.
Prior to his musical career, Withers served in the United States Navy for nine years where he served as an aircraft mechanic and later worked in an aircraft factory.
He released his debut album “Just As I Am” in 1971 and his final album in 1985.
His music appeared in over 200 film and television productions including “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”, “WKRP in Cincinnati”, “Designing Women”, “The Wonder Years”, “The Bodyguard”, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “Notting Hill”, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigations”, “Six Feet Under”, “Everybody Hates Chris”, “Glee”, “CSI: NY”, “The Simpsons”, “The Wedding Singer”, “Empire”, “Scandal”, “This is Us”, “Zooey’s Extraoridinary Playlist”, and numerous vareity and reality competiton shows.
He appeared as an actor in the made TV movie “Tivat Vivi” and in an episode of “Criminal Minds” as himself.
Born on the Fourth of July, William Harrison Withers Jr was born in Slab Fork, West Virginia; the youngest of six children born to a coal miner. After the divorce of his his parents, the family moved to nearby Beckley.
Withers is survived by his wife of over 40 years Marcia, children Todd and Kori, and sister Florence.
Bill Withers’ discography:
“Just As I Am”
“Live at Carnegie Hall”
“Naked & Warm”
“Watching You Watching Me”
feature photo credit: By Columbia Records – eBay itemphoto frontphoto back, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22536445