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Death Of Musician & Singer Bill Withers

Soul, R&B, Blues and Funk musician and singer Mr Bill Harrison Withers Jr., has alas passed away on March 30th last, 2020, from cardiovascular disease, at his home in Los Angeles, California, U.S. He was aged 81 years.

Songs from his chosen genres included; “Just the Two of Us” (Grammy Award 1980); “Grandma’s Hands“; “Ain’t No Sunshine”(Grammy Award 1971); “Lean on Me” (Grammy Award 1972); “Use Me Up”; “Just The Two Of Us” and “Lovely Day”, will be long remembered as undoubtedly some of his greatest contribution to the world of music.

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Mr Withers, was born on July 4th, 1938, in Slab Fork, a small coal-mining town in West Virginia, U.S, the youngest of six children. Born with a speech impediment, (a stutter), he had a hard time fitting in with others. Raised in nearby Beckley, he was just 13-years-old when his father died.

At the age of 18 years, Mr Withers enlisted with the United States Navy and served for nine years until 1965, during which time he overcame his speech impediment, before becoming interested in writing songs and performing.

Using $250 he received from selling his furniture to an IBM co-worker Ron Sierra, he relocated to Los Angeles in 1967 to work on an assembly line for several different companies, including the Douglas Aircraft Corporation. He began his musical career by recording demo tapes using his own funding, while selling them in the various clubs he performed in at night. Believing the music business to be a fickle industry, despite debuting with the song “Ain’t No Sunshine”, he refused to resign from his job.

Mr Withers married actress Denise Nicholas in 1973, before divorcing in 1974. In 1976, he married Marcia Johnson, and have two surviving children, Todd and Kori from his second union.

Withers disdain and animosity shown towards Columbia Record’s Artists and Repertoire executives, after being unable to get songs approved for his album, now changed his future career.

Columbia had signed him up after his stint with Sussex Records, latter which folded in 1975. Following further frustration with Columbia, he vowed never to record or re-sign to a record label ever again.

On April 18th, 2015, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Stevi Wonder, before later that year, on October 1st, a tribute concert was held in his honour at Carnegie Hall.

Requiescat in Pace.

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