Artist: Bill Withers

Lean On Me ~ Bill Withers

Bill Withers is an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. Some of his best-known songs are “Lean on Me”, “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Use Me”, “Just the Two of Us”, “Lovely Day”, and “Grandma’s Hands”.

Withers was born the youngest of thirteen children in the small coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia. Raised in nearby Beckley, West Virginia, Withers was thirteen years old when his father died. He enlisted with the United States Navy at age eighteen and served for nine years, during which time he became interested in singing and writing songs. Soon after his discharge from the Navy in 1970, he relocated to Los Angeles for a musical career.

Withers worked as an assembler for several different companies, including Douglas Aircraft Corporation, while recording demo tapes with his own money, shopping them around and performing in clubs at night. When he debuted with the song “Ain’t No Sunshine” he refused to resign his job because of his belief that the music business was a fickle industry and that he was still a novice compared to other acts.

In 2007, “Lean On Me” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 2014, he was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Lean On Me

Lean on Me” is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bill Withers. It was released in April 1972 as the first single from his second album, Still Bill. It was his first and only number one single on both the soul singles and the Billboard Hot 100. It is ranked number 205 on Rolling Stone‘s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. Numerous cover versions have been recorded, and it is one of only nine songs to have reached No. 1 with versions recorded by two different artists.

Withers’ childhood in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, was the inspiration for “Lean on Me”, which he wrote after he had moved to Los Angeles and found himself missing the strong community ethic of his hometown. He lived in a decrepit house in the poor section of town.

Withers recalled to Songfacts the original inspiration for the song:

“I bought a little piano and I was sitting there just running my fingers up and down the piano. In the course of doing the music, that phrase crossed my mind, so then you go back and say, ‘OK, I like the way that phrase, Lean On Me, sounds with this song.'”

Several members of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band were used for the recording session in 1972.

Lean On Me – Bill Withers

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear that you can’t carry
I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load
If you just call me

Call me (If you need a friend)
Call me (Call me uh-huh)
Call me (When you need a friend)
Call me (If you ever need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (If you need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me

Play 
  • Audio from the 1972 album, Still Bill:

51HH-5BPxML._SL500_AA280_PJStripe-Robin,TopLeft,0,0_
Purchase-Music Lean On Me – $0.99

Signature
Views:   (240)

Ain’t No Sunshine ~ Bill Withers

Bill Withers is an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. Some of his best-known songs are “Lean on Me”, “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Use Me”, “Just the Two of Us”, “Lovely Day”, and “Grandma’s Hands”.

Withers was born the youngest of thirteen children in the small coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia. Raised in nearby Beckley, West Virginia, Withers was thirteen years old when his father died. He enlisted with the United States Navy at age eighteen and served for nine years, during which time he became interested in singing and writing songs. Soon after his discharge from the Navy in 1970, he relocated to Los Angeles for a musical career.

Withers worked as an assembler for several different companies, including Douglas Aircraft Corporation, while recording demo tapes with his own money, shopping them around and performing in clubs at night. When he debuted with the song “Ain’t No Sunshine” he refused to resign his job because of his belief that the music business was a fickle industry and that he was still a novice compared to other acts.

Ain’t No Sunshine

Withers was inspired to write this song after watching the 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses. He explained, in reference to actors Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon, “They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It’s like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren’t particularly good for you. It’s just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I’m not aware of.”

For the song’s third verse, Withers had intended to write more lyrics instead of repeating the phrase “I know” over and over again, but then followed the advice of the other musicians to leave it that way: “I was this factory worker puttering around,” Withers said. “So when they said to leave it like that, I left it.” (Withers, then thirty-one years old, was working at a factory making toilet seats for 747s at the time.)

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
She’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away.

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away.

And I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know,
Hey, I oughtta leave young thing alone
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away

I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know,
Hey, I oughtta leave young thing alone
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away

[Spoken:]
“Thank you. Appreciate that. Yeah”

Play 
  • Audio from the 1971 album, Just As I Am:


Purchase-Music Ain’t No Sunshine – $0.99

Signature
Views:   (490)