Three-time Grammy Award winner & Soul Artist Bill Withers died at 81

April 05, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Three-time Grammy Award winner and Soul Artist Bill Withers died Monday, March 30, 2020, from heart complications in Los Angeles, according to a family representative. Withers was 81.

Withers is survived by his wife and two children.

Withers (William Harrison Withers Jr.), who enjoyed a long list of hits that included "Lean On Me," "Lovely Day," "Ain't No Sunshine," "Grandma's Hands" and "Just The Two of Us," will certainly be missed. I have played his music hundreds of times in my life on 8-track tapes, cassettes, albums, and CDs.

Lovely Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEeaS6fuUoA

Bill Withers made history at the 30th annual Grammy Awards on March 2, 1988, becoming the first songwriter to win for best R&B song three times. He took the award that year for his 1972 classic "Lean on Me."

Withers had previously won the best R&B song for writing his classic breakthrough hit "Ain't No Sunshine" (1971) and for co-writing (with Ralph MacDonald and William Salter) the smooth 1981 hit "Just the Two of Us," a collaboration with Grover Washington Jr. (my favorite jazz artist).

All these years later, just four other songwriters have equaled Withers' achievement of winning the best R&B song three times. One songwriter, Beyoncé Knowles (Queen Bee), has won it four times.

Bill Withers       Photo courtesy of Andrew ukermanBill WithersBill Withers died at the age of 81

Here is a letter from the Withers Family:

We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. 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. As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones. We know his legacy will live in our hearts and yours for generations to come.

We will miss his sharp wit, playful sense of humor, and no-nonsense way of turning a phrase as no one else could. He was a deeply proud man, full of integrity and principle, and we as his family are immensely proud of him for sharing his musical and lyrical gifts so elegantly and generously with the world. A master of writing love songs, he loved music, cherished and protected his family, and our love for him is immeasurable. 

With Love,

The Withers Family

Rest in Peace Bill Withers. We will miss you.

© 2020 Michael Lewis Global Photography, All Rights Reserved

Bill Withers (2)Bill Withers (2)Three-time Grammy Award winner Bill Withers died at 81

 


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