Throwback: Black History Month: Bill Withers

Today is the 18th day of Black History Month. Over the course of the month, I’ll spend some time paying tribute to Black artists across a wide and diverse array of genres and styles. My hope is that these posts should serve as an important reminder that the Black experience is the American experience, that Black culture is American culture — and importantly, Black lives and Black art matter. You can’t love Black art and Black artists without giving a shit about Black people. 

This month won’t be a comprehensive study of Black music. It’ll be more idiosyncratic because — well, JOVM after all. Now, if you’ve been following this site, you may recall that so far I’ve paid tribute to:

Today, I have to pay tribute to the legendary singer/songwriter Bill Withers. As a pop artist, Withers’ rise to fame would be highly unusual: He had been in the Navy for close to a decade and spent a portion of his life working as an assembler for Ford, IBM and Douglas Aircraft Corporation before writing and recording his first two hit songs when he was 33. And man, all of those songs are fucking great.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Grandma’s Hands” and “Lean On Me,” have been covered and sampled endlessly.