Bill Withers, one of the biggest big men in soul and r'n'b has died of reported complications of the heart.
If you you know anything of how tough it is to write a piece of music, write a piece of anything, do anything that anyone will endure for more than 30 seconds, maybe you'll gather how incredibly amazing is this journey of a small boy with a stutter from Slab Fork, West Virginia, who grew into one of the most unforgettable and influential artists of all time.
Bill Withers wrote and recorded some of the most enduring and nakedly emotional pop songs from 70s, including Lean On Me, (a song for these very days to be sure), Ain't No Sunshine, Lovely Day with its preternatural West Coast soul feel, Grandma's Hands, Use Me, and oh, so many more...
An earlier Bill had enlisted in the navy and served for nine years. He got into the guitar and took himself to California where he worked for the likes of the Douglas Corporation, 1960s California saw incredible wealth for working class employed by aerospace companies. Even after he signed, originally with Sussex Records, he kept his job at the aircraft factory. The sleeve of his first, Just As I Am, LP is purportedly Bill at work with his lunchbox in hand. Hmmmm.
His label teamed him with Booker T Jones to produce Just As I Am, and the legendary Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band for live shows. His songs have been sampled most notably by Dr Dre and Kanye West.
He signed to Columbia, producing more hits until he railed against 'blaxperts' controlling his career, sidelining him while producing records for Mr T. ...
He quit recording and performing altogether and I kind of love that he did that too. Why do muso's have to keep on going forever? Why can't their music can go on forever without them.
Here's a playlist our Night Out man, DJ Juekbox Malkin put together for you. Put it on repeat.