Inductee Bill Withers was a leading figure in the black singer-songwriter movement. He crafted quintessential ballads and groove-based tracks that are enduring classics. A masterful lyricist and brilliant vocalist, Withers made emotional connections with listeners on friendship, family, and vulnerability. His timeless songs have been covered and sampled by hundreds of artists, from Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson to Mary J. Blige and Willie Nelson.
Stevie Wonder Inducts Bill WithersStevie Wonder Inducts Bill Withers at the 2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Stevie Wonder Inducts Bill Withers00:03:46
Bill Withers Acceptance Speech00:13:09
"Ain't No Sunshine"00:03:05
Hall of Fame Essay
Bill Withers was simply not born to play the record industry game.
His oft-repeated descriptor for A&R men is “antagonistic and redundant.” Not surprisingly, most A&R men at Columbia Records, the label he recorded for beginning in 1975, considered him “difficult.”
Yet when given the freedom to follow his muse, Withers wrote, sang, and in many cases produced some of our most enduring classics, including “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” “Use Me,” “Lovely Day,” “Grandma’s Hands,” and “Who Is He (and What Is He to You).”
every word they sing and express -- that you can relate to.
Photography: Michael Zorn
Cleveland, Ohio 44114