The music of the singer, songwriter, and record producer, Bill Withers, continues to entertain listeners to this day. Bill’s easy listening sounds of soul, R&B, blues, funk, and smooth soul have become some of the greatest songs to the already stacked with talent genres. The grammy award winning artist released many wonderful albums during the 1970s and 80s and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
Growing up in a coal mining community of West Virginia, Bill’s lyrics hold meaning to his time around railroad yards, church congregations, and welfare lines. His music is a voice expressing his experiences through southern soul.
Bill’s debut album, Just As I Am, was released in 1971. The album became a commercial success and was just the beginning of Bill’s booming musical career. He would eventually release many more albums giving the industry many groovy songs with his passionate voice and unforgettable words.
Here are just a few of his hits:
“Ain’t No Sunshine” is without a doubt one of Bill Withers’ most famous songs. The emotional song makes the listener give their attention to the slow, deep beat and repetitive but meaningful lyrics.
“Lean on Me” has the soothing harmonies and piano you’d expect from something that resembles a gospel song. The message is another reminder that we all need somebody to lean on.
“Grandma’s Hands” is one of those songs that reminds the listener about those who came before – those hard working and tough loving individuals that we hope to be like someday.
“Use Me” is a classic song that has some great guitar strumming and drum symbols chiming. The sound is so 1970s that it makes you think of blurry color television shows, bell bottoms, and shirt collars longer than aircraft carriers. It is a treasure from its time. Included is the studio version and the live version.
“Let It Be” is Bill’s cover of the song originally made famous by The Beatles. His take on the song is refreshing and unique. The church organ sound is a good touch to an already great song.
“Harlem” has lyrics that represent individuals in life who are just trying to get by. Saturday nights in Harlem make things easier though.
“I’m Her Daddy” has some sweet sounds. The bongos in the beginning and the guitar being picked lead up to a relaxed melody of lyrics, drums, and electric guitar. The song is about a man expressing his emotions over finding out that he is a father.
“Lovely Day” is a great song to play for the love of your life. How can it not be a lovely day when you get to wake up next to someone who makes the world all right? This song assures the listener that it is going to be a lovely day.
Later on in his musical journey, Bill joined Grover Washington, Jr., with Grover’s smooth jazz saxophone, and they recorded the classic love song “Just the Two of Us.”
Bill Withers’ work will certainly remain a staple in the industry for years to come. He has shown us how to write a great song, perform live, how to be funky, and lose oneself in the sound of instruments. The fact that he makes it look so easy is a testament of how talented the man is. This is just a sample of Bill’s contributions to entertaining our ear drums. This is Bill Withers.