“Lean on me when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.”
R&B singer-songwriter Bill Withers passed on Monday due to heart complications. He was 81. Withers wrote some of the ’70s’ and ’80s’ most notable hits such as “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Use Me.” This terrible news hits particularly hard during the coronavirus pandemic, as many sing “Lean On Me” from balconies across the world in solidarity with each other and essential workers.
Withers was working as an assembler for the Douglas Aircraft Corporation when his first hit “Ain’t No Sunshine” rose to the top of the charts 1971. While Withers’ music career was relatively brief, he was a prominent voice in R&B music during the ’70s and ’80s. His music would go on to inspire millions of people to lend a helping hand and band together during difficult times.
Withers’ won three Grammys and was nominated for four more during his career. He was also named the Male Singer of the Year at the NAACP Image Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart-driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other,” Withers’ family said in a statement to the Associated Press.
We can’t speak for Withers or his family, but we like to think he’d be proud of the comradery the public has shown during this difficult time.
Rest in peace, Bill.
Featured photo: Shutterstock
Also published on Medium.