Bill Withers, the sweet-voiced baritone behind such classic songs as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me” and “Use Me” has died. Withers was 81 years old. consistent with a family statement given to the Associated Press, he died Monday in l. a. thanks to heart complications. (On Friday morning, Withers’ official Facebook page shared an obituary from Billboard that references the AP’s reporting.)
Bill Withers, who disdained the machinations of the record industry, stopped recording in 1985, just 14 years after he became a star together with his debut album, even as i’m .
The son of a West Virginia collier , William Harrison Withers, Jr. was born Independence Day , 1938. He grew up with a stutter and was one among 13 children in his family. Only six survived infancy.
He was the primary man in his family to not enter the mines, and he couldn’t wait to urge faraway from the place where he grew up, as he told NPR’s Morning Edition in 2015.
Withers’ father died when he was just 13. Soon, another tragedy struck the family. “My social idol was my older brother,” Withers told NPR. “He got hurt within the coal mines — he got crushed by a coal cart — so, he wasn’t ready to add there anymore.” Withers’ brother became a mailman, and he saw how out of the mines for himself, too. Bill Withers joined the Navy after graduating from highschool in 1956. After a nine-year stint, he moved first to San Jose, Calif. and, a few of years later, to l. a. . For a short time , he was a milkman, then worked during a factory making airplane parts. within the evenings, he would sit in as a singer at small clubs round the city. Between shifts, he learned the way to play the guitar and commenced writing his own songs, which he began shopping around to labels.
Bill Withers was first signed by Clarence Avant at Sussex Records; Avant brought in Booker T. Jones to supply 1971’s even as i’m . (Stephen Stills played lead guitar.)