It’s Sad Enough Out There Without Losing Bill

Soulful Singer-Songwriter Bill Withers – the ‘Lean On Me’ Man – Leaves Us at 81

A Brief One by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted April 4th, 2020

A young Bill Withers, around the time he was having big hits with songs like ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Use Me’ in the 1970s

As if we haven’t enough to feel sad and worried about these days, what an added drag to learn that yet another creator of music that has become a soundtrack in so many of our lives has died.

Bill Withers, the American singer and songwriter, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who wrote and performed such great songs as ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone’, ‘Use Me’, ‘Lean On Me’, and who co-wrote ‘Just the Two of Us’ and recorded it with the late, great Buffalo, New York-born sax player Grover Washington, died on March 30th – passing announced by family members a few days later.

Bill Withers was 81 one and no, reportedly he did not die of the virus, but of heart complications.

One of those great songs I listed above, ‘Lean On Me’, has lyrics that are always comforting to hear at times when we might be feeling down. They may be particularly comforting to hear now and, so much so, that I just heard them sung by the good man himself in a post-CO ID 19 outbreak TV ad produced by WalMart. But let’s not hold that against the song

We may not be able to physically lean on each other out in the community now, but we can do it with at members of our family and whoever else we may be staying safely at home with during these perilous times.

And we can all do it virtually through a performance of the song in 2025, when Bill Withers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland by clicking on the screen below.

You can sing and clap along to the performance, featuring John Legend, and the fan of Bill Withers who entered his name for induction, Stevie Wonder –


Finally, click on the following screen to enjoy a few minutes of vintage Bill Withers from 1981, performing just a little bit of ‘Just The Two Of Us’ –

If you like that song, what I urge you to do is find Grover Washington’s 1981 album Winelight to hear the long version, with all of the wonderful extended sax playing solos by Mr. Washington.

RIP Bill Withers

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