Bill Withers At 80+: “We All Need Somebody To Lean On”

Award-winning Bill Withers created a number of hits that we still hear now, either as the original hits or as samples for some of today’s greatest hip-hop songs.  Singles like “Lovely Day”, “Grandma’s Hands”, “Use Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” all came from the mind of Bill. But many didn’t know that the artist went through a tough time and that’s what inspired one of his biggest hits.

“Men have problems admitting to losing things,” he said. “I think women are much better at that. . . . So, once in my life, I wanted to forgo my own male ego, admit my own depression and to losing something, so I came up with… ‘Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone / It’s not warm when she’s away / Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone / And she’s always gone too long, any time she goes away.’”

“Ain’t No Sunshine” gave Withers his first gold record, earned him a Grammy, and, with later hits such as “Lean on Me” and “Use Me,” forms the cornerstone of a small but indispensable section of the American songbook. A new documentary about Withers, “Still Bill,” is an no-nonsense, confident attempt to look inside the personality of a man who wrote so well and then walked away from it all in 1985, adding only a handful of songs to his legacy since then.