Legendary soul singer, Bill Withers, died today at age 81. The singer and songwriter had a string of hits in the 70s and 80s. “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” specifically became staples to cover on competitive singing shows like American Idol and The Voice.
Read his obituary at the Associated Press
Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “ Lean on Me, ” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The Associated Press. He was 81.
The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, the statement said. His death comes as the public has drawn inspiration from his music during the coronavirus pandemic, with health care workers, choirs, artists and more posting their own renditions on “Lean on Me” to help get through the difficult times.
“Lean on Me,” a paean to friendship, was performed at the inaugurations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” are among Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
“He’s the last African-American Everyman,” musician and band leader Questlove told Rolling Stone in 2015. “Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.”
Here are a few of the memorable covers from reality singing stars;
American Idol season 8 winner Kris Allen
American Idol season 14 runner up Clark Beckham
The Voice season 8 alum Mia Z
X Factor UK Season 11 winner Ben Haenow