Bill Withers The Famed Writer-Singer Died Of Heart Attack At 81
Bill Withers, a noted writer and singer, passed away at 81. He died of heart complications. But he would be remembered for the soulful music like “Lean On Me”, “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”, his family said in a statement.
Last African American Everyman
His songs continue to honor social gatherings, family events, engagements and weddings. For example, the inauguration of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were celebrated with the tune of “Lean On Me”. And “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean On Me” were included in the Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
His first album came in 1971 with the help of Sussex Records. It was “Just As I Am”. Withers was photographed smiling and holding his launch pail on the cover. The album had the hits like “Grandma’s Hands” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”. But his singing career with Sussex went bankrupt and he found himself scooped up by Columbia Records.
While most of his songs were related to social relationships, he also wrote on social issues like “Better Off Dead” on alcoholic suicide and “I Can’t Write Left-Handed” on an injured Vietnam War veteran.
Born in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, Withers face many difficulties in childhood. He overcame childhood stutter. He was three when his parents divorced and he was raised by his mother’s family in nearby Beckley. At 17, he became an aircraft mechanic installing toilets in Navy and worked for 9 years.