Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Bill Withers

Ep. 16 - Bill Withers

Lean On Me: The Soul Poet

Bill Withers doesn't care. He made his music. He did his thing. And then disappeared from the business. The legendarily elusive R&B icon isn't interested in analyzing his legacy or explaining the nuts and bolts of the creative process. And he definitely isn't interested in setting Scott and Paul at ease. But it's his blunt and unaccommodating style that makes this refreshingly honest interview a lot of fun. Remarkably comfortable in his own skin, Bill discusses racial inequality, getting into the music business as a 30-year-old, and exactly what he was (and wasn't) thinking when he wrote his hit songs. Don't miss the extremely rare opportunity to hear Bill discuss the full span of his years as a professional musician and songwriter.  

Pop and R&B legend Bill Withers released nine albums between 1971 and 1985 that included such classic songs as “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Use Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Just the Two of Us.” Though he stepped away from the limelight in the mid-1980s, his songs have become classics that have withstood the test of time and been covered by iconic artists including Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, Ike & Tina Turner, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, The Staple Singers, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Sting, Linda Ronstadt, Roberta Flack, Buddy Guy, Barbra Streisand, and George Benson. Additionally, his music has been sampled by Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, L.L. Cool J, Tupac Shakur, R. Kelly, and Kanye West. Withers was in the inaugural class of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, and is a nine-time Grammy nominee. He won three Grammy awards for Best R&B song for “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971, “Just the Two of Us” in 1981, and the Club Nouveau cover of “Lean on Me” in 1987. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.


Songcraft's Bill Withers Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy some of Bill's best known songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.