Bill Withers, the acclaimed 1970s soul singer behind hits Ain’t No Sunshine and Lean On Me has died from coronary heart problems aged 81, his household stated.
The singer died on Monday in Los Angeles, the household advised the Associated Press.
They described him in an announcement as a “solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world”.
“He spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other,” the assertion stated.
Known for his clean baritone vocals and luxurious soul preparations, he wrote a few of the 70s best-remembered songs, together with Just The Two Of Us, Lovely Day and Use Me.
On Lovely Day, he set the document for the longest sustained notice on a US chart hit, holding a excessive E for 18 seconds.
Although he stopped recording in 1985, his songs remained a serious affect on R&B and hip-hop.
His observe Grandma’s Hands was sampled on Blackstreet’s No Diggity, and Eminem reinterpreted Just The Two Of Us on his hit 1997 Bonnie And Clyde.
Lean On Me has just lately grow to be related to the Coronavirus pandemic, with many individuals posting their very own variations to help well being employees.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” stated Withers’ household in an announcement.
“With his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other.
“As non-public a life as he lived, near intimate household and associates, his music endlessly belongs to the world. In this tough time, we pray his music affords consolation and leisure as followers maintain tight to family members.”
US musician Chance the Rapper led tributes, describing the singer as “the best” and recalling some of his own personal memories.
Rock star and actor Lenny Kravitz posted that his “voice, songs, and total expression gave us love, hope, and strength”.
Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson said he was “very sad to hear about Bill Withers passing” – calling him “a songwriter’s songwriter” – whereas John Legend added that “life wouldn’t be the same without him” and his music.
And BBC Radio 2’s Trevor Nelson wrote the star’s music was “a remedy for these nonsensical times”.
“He was a genius singer/songwriter. Can’t listen to Bill without feeling emotional.”
Born in 1938, Withers was the youngest of six youngsters. His father died when he was a baby and he was raised by his mom and grandmother.
His entry to the music world got here late – at the age of 29 – after a nine-year stint within the Navy
He taught himself to play guitar between shifts at his job making bathroom seats for the Boeing plane firm, and used his wages to pay for studio periods in LA.
“I figured out that you didn’t need to be a virtuoso to accompany yourself,” he told Rolling Stone magazine in 2015.
He recorded his first album, Just As I Am, with Booker T Jones in 1970. It included the mournful ballad Ain’t No Sunshine, which earned him his first Grammy award the following yr.
He scored one other million-selling hit with Lean On Me in 1972.
Gospel-tinged and inspirational, the tune was based mostly on his experiences rising up in a West Virginia coal mining city: When occasions had been onerous, neighbours would lend one another assist and help, and the reminiscence caught with the singer.
It was later carried out at the inaugurations of each Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
But Withers give up at the highest, strolling away from his profession after scoring a pop hit with Just The Two Of Us, though he often toured with Grover Washington Jr within the 1990s.
As a youthful man, he suffered with a debilitating stutter, and in 2015, he and fellow stutterer Ed Sheeran placed on a profit live performance for the Stuttering Association For The Young.
The similar yr, Withers was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame, and when requested the way it felt by US TV show CBS Good Morning, he joked, “It’s like a pre-obituary!”
Despite his affect on generations of musicians, he didn’t preserve observe of music after his profession ended.
“These days,” he stated in 2015, “I wouldn’t know a pop chart from a Pop-Tart.”
But he was conscious that his compositions had grow to be a part of the material of music.
“What few songs I wrote during my brief career, there ain’t a genre that somebody didn’t record them in,” he told Rolling Stone in 2014. “I’m not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with.”
“The hardest thing in songwriting is to be simple and yet profound,” agreed Sting in Still Bill, a documentary about Wither’s profession, “and Bill seemed to understand, intrinsically and instinctively, how to do that,”
He is survived by his spouse, Marcia, and kids, Todd and Kori.