Known for taking early retirement, Bill discovered his reasons for leaving the music industry. He painted the picture of a content musician. As the great Plato said “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”
Withers claimed that A&R Columbia chief Mickey Eichner had prevented him from entering the studio, leaving a seven-year gap between ‘Bout Love (1978) and Watching You Watching Me (1985).
Withers had signed a contract with Columbia Records in ’76 and soon married his second wife, Marcia Johnson. Marcia then started assisting him as his full-time manager. Withers continued to break records with Columbia, including the laid-back and buoyant Lovely Day. He was known to release three albums in three years.
Withers also spent a considerable amount of his lifetime in the US navy. Post this he moved to Los Angeles where he found a job making toilet seats. By the night he would be recording demos. Soon after he signed his contract with Sussex Records. Ain’t No Sunshine earned Withers his first Grammy in the best R&B song.
Sadly, his tenure with Sussex Records was an unpleasant one. As per his conversations with Rolling stones, he was heard saying the Record Company was not paying him.
His experiences were then portrayed in Lean on Me showing his early years up in Slab Fork. Slab Fork was a tough coal mining town with a very solid community code.
William Harrison Withers Jr was born in 1938. His stuttering prevented him from making friends. This made his childhood difficult. Soon after his father died when Bill was 13. His grandmother helped raise him. He was in such awe of his Grandmother who raised him that he wrote her a tribute with the song Grandma’s Hands from her first album from 1971. This great musician will truly be missed.