Bill Withers: 5 Songs You Need On Your iPod
I wouldn't guess that too many white folk know who Bill Withers is, unless you were into RnB during the 1970s. And even then, I'm not so sure you'd know his name, as opposed to just his music. But what I'm pretty certain of if this: nearly anyone with ears is likely to know at least two of this man's songs; and y'all ought to know at least five. His music is classed as RnB/Soul, but there's quite a bit of blues in there as well, even if just as a primary influence. But no matter what you call it, his music crossed over and touched people of all races -- not an unimpressive feat.
Bill Withers: Ain't No Sunshine
Bill Withers' CDs
1. Ain't No Sunshine
I think you'd have a really, really hard time finding someone who doesn't think this song is fantastic. The strings give it an edge that you just don't hear much these days -- and it really makes the song memorable, which is more than I can say for today's pop, soul, RnB or anything else you might listen to. If you're fan of the film Notting Hill, you'll probably remember this song from the scene with Hugh Grant walking through the street as the seasons change.
2. Lean On Me
If you're my age, you'll probably remember the Morgan Freeman movie with the same title, and hearing this song on the radio all the time. Below you'll see a video which has the original version of the song -- it's sooooo much better than the one that came out when I was in grammar school. Lean On Me is one of the classics, often cited as a source of inspiration for those living in a Pre-Black Presidential era. It's a great song, no matter what color you are.
3. Who Is He (and what is he to you?)
I confess that the first version of this I heard was the Meshell Ndegeocello version -- which is fabulous. The original is a bit different, but equally fabulous, and should therefore have a place on your iPod. It's funky, sexy and very, very good.
4. The Same Love That Made Me Laugh
... why you wanna make me cry? We've all been there at one point in time, have we not? This has such a good groove, and such a hip melody that you can't help humming along with it. Heartache never sounded so sexy!
5. I Don't Want You On My Mind
Lots and lots of blues in this song. Clearly a song about a man who wants to get a woman out of his head, but can't quite seem to manage it for one reason or another. Have a listen; this song has one of those bass lines that just make you want to grab someone and start kissing 'em.