I feel like Bill Withers has been with most of us all of our lives. Whether it’s been looking back at old musical slideshows, that surprising feeling when someone who you are attracted to walks past you, when a relationship ends, or when you are just happy for no reason. The list goes on.
People around the world are bound to know some of Bill's songs even if they don’t recognize his name. Major hits of his include “Lean on Me” “Ain’t No Sunshine” “Lovely Day”and who could forget his feature on Grover Washington Junior's “Just the Two of Us”.
After reading more into his bio, I found out that his dad died when was just 13. He later enlisted in the Navy when he was 17. Did you know that he used to have a stutter? He apparently overcame it after being in the Navy for nine years. That must have been some bootcamp training. I feel like it's hard enough as it is, let alone a speech impediment. Can you imagine having a stutter in the military? Man they would give you shit about that and you’d never hear the end of it!
Once his service with the navy ended, he eventually moved to Los Angeles in ’67 to pursue music. Man oh man I’m glad he did. He would go on to produce eight studio albums one live album and his work was consolidated into 10 compilation albums that your parents may have owned at least one copy of. He won three Grammys for “Ain’t No Sunshine” “Just the Two of Us” and “Lean on Me.”
It’s bittersweet that we look back on musicians a bit more once they pass away. It’s almost as if we just acknowledge the importance of someone when they are no longer able to be thanked while they were alive. Have a listen to his songs whenever you are feeling sad or happy and just let the music help you get through whatever you’re going through.