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Bill Withers Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (2) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 4 July 1938Slab Fork, West Virginia, USA
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Bill Withers was born on July 4, 1938 in the small coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia and was raised in the nearby town of Beckley. He was the youngest of six children. His coal miner father died when Withers was only thirteen. Bill worked a series of odd jobs to help his mother out. At age seventeen he joined the US Navy and first became interested in both singing and songwriting during his tour of duty in the armed forces. After being discharged from the Navy in 1965, Bill moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a music career. Withers worked a full time job making toilet seats at the Boeing aircraft company and recorded demos on the side at night for several years prior to being signed to the Sussex Records label in 1970. In 1971 Bill released his debut album "Just As I Am." The song "Ain't No Sunshine" was a #3 R&B radio hit and won the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song. Withers scored a massive smash in 1972 with the marvelously inspirational "Lean on Me," which reached #1 on the Billboard pop charts on July 8. "Use Me" was likewise successful; it peaked at #2 on the Billboard pop charts. In the summer of 1974 Bill performed in concert along with James Brown, Etta James and BB King at the historic Ali/Frasier fight in Zaire (footage of Withers in concert can be seen in the acclaimed documentary "When We Were Kings"). After parting with Sussex Records, Withers hooked up with Columbia Records in 1975. "Lovely Day" was a Top 30 Billboard pop hit in 1978. "Just the Two of Us," Bill's terrific duet with Grover Washington, Jr., was a #2 Billboard pop hit in 1981 and won the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song. His songs have been covered by a diverse array of artists that include Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Club Nouveau (their 1987 cover of "Lean on Me" won the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song in 1988), Morrisey, Paul McCartney, Michael Bolton, Fiona Apple, Sting, Kenny Rogers, and Johnny Mathis. Withers was the recipient of the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award in 2006. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Bill's songs have been featured on the soundtracks to such movies as "Hoot," "Roll Bounce," "Starsky & Hutch," "Bandits," "Exit Wounds," "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," "American Beauty," "Notting Hill," "The Bodyguard," "American Me," "Lean on Me," and "Looking for Mr. Goodbar," plus episodes of the TV shows "Entourage," "LAX," "Cold Case," "Keen Eddie," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigations," and "The Simpsons."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: woodyanders

Spouse (2)

Marcia Johnson (31 December 1976 - present) (2 children)
Denise Nicholas (17 January 1973 - 1974) (divorced)

Trivia (2)

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 9, 2005 in New York City alongside Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
His composition "Lean On Me" was adopted as a hymn by the Unitarian-Universalist Association and appears in their supplemental hymnal "Singing the Journey" (Hymn # 1021).

Personal Quotes (1)

I write and sing about whatever I'm able to understand and feel. I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

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