THREE-time Grammy Award winning singer Bill Withers died on March 30, 2020 from heart complications but his legacy lives on thanks to his songs that remain fan favourites to this day.
While he was most famous for singing Lean on Me, Lovely Day and Ain't No Sunshine the 81-year-old wasn't always a perfomer. Here's everything we know about the legendary singer.
Who was Bill Withers?
Born William Harrison Withers Jr. in 1938, Bill Withers was an American singer-songwriter who spanned several genres including soul, R&B, blues and funk.
His songs were heavily-influenced by gospel music and church hymns from his childhood.
Most active in the 1970s, he retired in the mid 1980s when he was just in his forties and retreated from the public eye.
"A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other," his family said in a statement after his death.
Highlights of his career included winning three Grammy Awards for Ain't No Sunshine in 1971, Just The Two Of Us in 1981 and Lean On Me in 1987.
In total he had nine Grammy nominations and entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
Withers is survived by his wife, Marcia, and children, son Todd and daughter Kori.
Bill Withers had a string of hits in the 1970s and 80s.Withers had a difficult childhood growing up in Slab Fork, West Virginia. A stutter made it hard for him to make friends his grandmother helped raise him after his father died when Bill was 13.
Withers joined the US Navy at the age of 17 and after six years decided to pursue a career in music, buying a guitar from a pawn shop and starting to record demos of his tunes.
In 1971, the signer signed a record deal with Sussex Records where he put out his debut album Just As I Am, which included the hit Ain't No Sunshine.
How did Bill Withers die?
Bill Withers died in Los Angeles on March 30, 2020 aged 81 from heart complications.
His family revealed his death on April 3, 2020 saying they were "devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father".
What were Bill Withers' hit songs and albums?
Bill Withers most memorable and popular songs include: Lean on Me, Lovely Day and Ain't No Sunshine.
Ain't No Sunshine climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard charts and spent 16 weeks in the top 40.
Withers went on to release his second album, Still Bill, in 1972 which included tracks Lean on Me and Use Me.
In the midst of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Lean on Me had become an informal anthem for some, sung by school children and from balconies as a sign of solidarity.
“As private a life as he lived, close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world," his family said in a statement when he died.
"In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”
His hit track Lovely Day, famous for its 18-second-long held note, was his only UK Top 10 hit reaching no. 7 in 1977 and no. 4 in 1988.
It was released on in 1977 on his album Menagerie.
In May 2009, Ain't No Sunshine – another signature hit – reached the UK Top 40 for the first time (charting at Number 40) after a contestant performed the track on Britain's Got Talent.
In total, Withers released eight studio albums, a live album and several compilation albums.
What was Bill Withers' net worth?
Bill Withers had a net worth of US$25 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
He earned $650,000 in 1972 from his album Still Bill, which sold about 500,000 copies, and another $650,000 in 1977 from his album Menagerie, which sold about the same amount.
He also continued to make money from the use of his songs in several TV shows and movies.
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