Legendary Soul Singer Bill Withers Dead at 81

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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.

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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

About mj santilli 33697 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!


  1. Bill Withers “Ain’t no Sunshine” was a big favorite of mine back in the day. May he Rest In Peace.

  2. Bill Withers “Ain’t no Sunshine” was a big favorite of mine back in the day. May he Rest In Peace.

  3. There are certain Bill Withers songs that everyone loves and many have covered. But my favorite Withers song is “Who is he and what is he to you.” Lawd! Someone got caught, lol. Would love to see someone sing that on Idol. Doubtful tho. HA.

  4. I find it very offensive when someone of a certain age is reported “Dead AT 81” instead of just “passed away at 81” sounds more professional as well

  5. what’s offensive about it? It’s simply telling you how old the person was at the time of his death. And in journalism, “dead” is used far more often than “passed away.” You’d be far more likely to hear or read in the news that so-and-so “died” or “was killed” in a plane crash than you would to hear or read that they “passed away” in a plane crash.

  6. sounds more professional as well

    It’s the opposite, actually. Do a search on a person after they have died. The terms dead or died are ALWAYS the terms used in headlines, as well as in the body of the article.

    “Passed away” is a weak, vague euphemism. When reporting something as serious as a death, it’s important for writing to be absolutely clear in language that can’t be misinterpreted or misconstrued.

  7. I don’t know what is supposedly offensive about saying “dead” or “died.” When did those become slurs?

  8. Well when I die I would hope someone would have the decency to write passed away instead of I’m dead at a old age

  9. You clearly didn’t read what I said I said when a older person dies at a certain age and it’s natural for a older person to pass away naturally it is better to put pass away instead of dead he wasn’t murdered nor was he killed by a freak accident so what you put was invalided

  10. It just sounds distasteful when speaking on an older person who wasn’t murdered or killed

  11. He didn’t die from old age, but from a medical condition.

  12. That sounds more like a personal hang up than a matter of “professionalism.” The fact is he died from medical complications.

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