Saturday, July 14, 2007
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Bill Withers
Bill Withers was a very popular R & B singer songwriter in the 70s and his music is still covered today. He was born July 4, 1938 in Slab Fork, WV, a coal mining town. His father died when he was a child and he was raised by his mother & grandmother. After nine years in the Navy, he moved to Los Angeles to persue a music career in 1967. He made toilet seats at Boeing Aircraft while sending out demos. His big break came when he met Sussex Records owner Clarence Avant. His 1971 debut Just As I Am was produced by Booker T. Jones and Ain't No Sunshine was a huge hit. His 1972 LP Still Bill contained an even bigger hit in Lean On Me. Use Me was on that LP and was a top five R & B hit. It has a darker tone than some of Withers' other songs and has a great electric piano groove by Marcus Miller. He wrote it after his marriage to actress Denise Nicholas (Room 222) ended. D'Angelo did a cover of Use Me in 1997. Withers had several more hits and successfully sued Sussex for back royalties in 1974. He was their biggest artist so they went out of business and Withers signed with Columbia. Withers' last chart hit was Just The Two Of Us, a guest shot with Grover Washington Jr. in 1981. It was on Elektra so Columbia released this Greatest Hits comp in 1981 to take advantage of that. There are better comps available. Bill Withers last recorded in 1985 and has retired from the music business. His songs have continued to be performed by others so he gets a good income from that. He did turn up on a Jimmy Buffett CD in 2004 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2005. Bill Withers' best songs are timeless classics that are still fresh today. Here's Bill Withers performing Use Me in 1972.