Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. RIP, Bill Withers

 

Wanted to note the passing of Bill Withers. One of the most unique and instantly identifiable voices in popular music, his songs filled my father’s Los Angeles-area apartment growing up. To this day, every time I hear one of his songs, I think of sunny southern California late afternoons, cool breezes, and swaying palm trees. If you’re not familiar with Withers, take the time. Beautifully smooth melodies and a voice like honey.

My favorite song out of many favorites.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I didn’t follow him closely, but I loved his singing. I’ll miss him. This one was my favorite:

    • #1
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. Stad Thatcher

    Ain’t no sunshine now he’s gone . . .

    • #2
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I’m with Susan.

    • #3
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My favorite:

    Use Me

    My friends feel it’s their appointed duty
    They keep trying to tell me all you want to do is use me
    But my answer yeah to all that use me stuff
    Is I want to spread the news that if it feels this good getting used
    Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up
    Until you use me up

    My brother sit me right down and he talked to me
    He told me that I ought not to let you just walk on me
    And I’m sure he meant well yeah but when our talk was through
    I said brother if you only knew you’d wish that you were in my shoes
    You just keep on using me until you use me up
    Until you use me up

    Oh sometimes yeah it’s true you really do abuse me
    You get in a crowd of high class people and then you act real rude to me
    But oh baby baby baby baby when you love me I can’t get enough
    I and I want to spread the news that if it feels this good getting used
    Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up
    Until you use me up

    Talking about you using me but it all depends on what you do
    It ain’t too bad the way you’re using me
    ‘Cause I sure am using you to do the things you do
    Ah ha to do the things you do

    • #4
    • April 3, 2020, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. MaggiMc Inactive

    Ain’t No Sunshine and Use me are both on my favorites playlist. 

    Such a voice.

    • #5
    • April 3, 2020, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Withers’ success story is remarkable in that he was an Air Force veteran working in a manufacturing job when he got to make his first recording at age 30. He never succumbed to the insanities of the music business and basically walked away when he tired of it all. By all accounts, he was a genuinely wise and kind man.

    • #6
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:58 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Nick Plosser Coolidge
    Nick Plosser

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Withers’ success story is remarkable in that he was an Air Force veteran working in a manufacturing job when he got to make his first recording at age 30. He never succumbed to the insanities of the music business and basically walked away when he tired of it all. By all accounts, he was a genuinely wise and kind man.

    Thanks for sharing. I knew he had been in the Air Force but that was about it. Your comment caused me to do a bit of digging. A remarkable life story indeed, and I have even more respect for him after reading a bit of his background and views.
    Found this piece from 2015:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/arts/music/bill-withers-still-himself-but-hell-allow-the-attention.html?_r=0

    “Born in Slab Fork, W.Va., in 1938, Mr. Withers emerged as a kind of musical Everyman, pictured on the cover of “Just As I Am” at his job at Weber Aircraft in Burbank, Calif., lunch pail in hand. Even now, a comfortable resident of the Hollywood Hills who pals around with Mr. Wonder and Johnny Mathis, Mr. Withers relishes his anonymity on the street, and holds onto a utilitarian view of life, music and fame.

    “You have to create a value for yourself,” Mr. Withers said, pecking at a plain green salad. “Somebody has to need you to show up in order for something to get done. There are a lot of young people that don’t seem to get that. If you can lay tile or something that somebody needs, then you can pretty much get by.”

    And this:
    “I have seen America and all the weird phases it has been through, all the cruelty and all the kindness,” Mr. Withers said. “I was born on the Fourth of July. That makes me very American. But I have not been imprisoned by any culture. What’s that Joni Mitchell said, ‘I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now’? I’ve looked at America from both sides — the ugly and the whatever. That’s why I say it’s this miracle of the United States.”

    • #7
    • April 4, 2020, at 7:33 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Ray Kujawa Coolidge

    Al Green came to my middle school in Camden NJ in 1972 and did a cover of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and even decades later I had no idea Withers was black. But I liked his singing (Withers on recording and Green in person).

    • #8
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    I went to high school with his son who is two years younger. I had no idea who his father was at the time. 

    • #9
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Withers’ success story is remarkable in that he was an Air Force veteran working in a manufacturing job when he got to make his first recording at age 30. He never succumbed to the insanities of the music business and basically walked away when he tired of it all. By all accounts, he was a genuinely wise and kind man.

    I think so. I never met him but know his son. His son never mentioned who his father was. Partly because he didn’t have to. He tried to be as normal and unassuming as possible 

    • #10
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Southern Pessimist Member

    The documentary, from about 10 years ago, that caught up with him long after he left the music business is awesome. I believe it is called Still Bill. He was an extremely wise and humble man.

    • #11
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:50 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    The documentary, from about 10 years ago, that caught up with him long after he left the music business is awesome. I believe it is called Still Bill. He was an extremely wise and humble man.

    what is the title and producer?

     

    • #12
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:58 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Nick Plosser Coolidge
    Nick Plosser

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wdizl63aols

    Here’s a link to the documentary. 

    • #13
    • April 4, 2020, at 7:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like