Top 5 Bill Withers songs
“Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen,” Questlove told Rolling Stone in 2015. The comparison is suitable; Withers would sing about simple things; love, lust, loss.
Bill Withers, who recently passed away at the age of 81, had a gift for simple, genuine emotions. He was a musician whose connection to everyday stuff came through clearly. Some soul has dirt on it, but this had dust; his music tore through your heart and held you with a few fingers on a keyboard. If you haven't heard any of Bill Withers's music, this might be a good place to start:
1. Ain't No Sunshine (Just As I Am, 1971)
Bill wrote this breakout hit after he saw Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick Days of Wine and Roses. This 1971 song was a terrific display of how he uses metaphors. He talks about a world without love, but it doesn't seem overdone or extra. It's a subtle mix of emotion and calm.
2. Use Me (Still Bill, 1972)
This 1972 album was self-produced and recorded with the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. This album contains stories of his sexual obsession. This track is ideal for late-night jams and driving.
3. Lean on Me (Still Bill, 1972)
This was the first single from his album, Still Bill, but the inspiration for this track came years ago. This song is quintessential Bill Withers, with clear and soulful lyrics over smooth production.
4. Just the Two of Us (1981)
Even though Withers was listed as a feature on this track, he had a huge role in writing. It's a deeply romantic song, where Withers talks about strength and defiance.
5. Harlem (Just As I Am, 1971)
This was the opening track of his 1971 album, Just As I Am. Harlem shows a different side of Withers.
Rest in Peace to the legend.