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Bill Withers

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Slab Fork WV, United States (July 4, 1938 – present)

Bill Withers (born July 4, 1938 in Slab Fork, West Virginia) is an American who performed and recorded from the late 1960s until the mid 1980s.

Bill’s father died when he was thirteen. He joined the US Navy at seventeen, and stayed there for nine years, before he moved to Los Angeles in 1967. While in Los Angeles, he worked full-time in a Lockheed assembly plant in the day, making toilets for Boeing 747 airliners, then recorded demo tapes and performed in juke joints during the night. When he debuted on the music scene with “Ain’t No Sunshine,” he refused to give up his job at Lockheed because of his belief that the music business was a fickle industry and that he was still a novice compared to other working acts like The Temptations or Sammy Davis, Jr.

His first success was with the company Sussex Records in 1971 with his debut hit single Ain’t No Sunshine on the album Just As I Am. He assembled a touring band made up of: drummer James Gadson, guitarist Bernoce Blackmon, keyboardist Ray jackson, and bassist Melvin Dunlap.

His second album Still Bill also did well on the charts. It was recorded during a break in the “Just As I Am” tour and included the well-known single “Lean on Me,” which went to #1 on the charts on July 8, 1972. His live album, “Bill Withers, Live at Carnegie Hall,” released in 1973, was one of the best live albums to be released during the 1970s. Other popular songs he sings are “Use Me” and “Lovely Day,” as well as “Just the Two of Us,” which he performed with saxophonist Grover Washington Jr.

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