A story of Bill Withers covers and samples on bulletin boards, from Will Smith to Shawn and Camila


Although the late Bill Withers spent barely a dozen years as an active performer – from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, before becoming sufficiently discouraged by the music industry – his songbook and his legacy have endured thanks to a list of covers, tweens and covers of his most famous tunes.

Withers died on Monday of heart complications at the age of 81 in Los Angeles. His death was publicly announced four days later, Friday April 3.

Both songwriter and singer, soul legend meditated on his writing background when he was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, saying, “The few songs I wrote during my brief career, there is not a genre that someone has not done does not record them. I’m not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could relate to. “

While Withers has done a lot of Billboard artist hits – 13 Billboard Hot 100 hits and 12 Billboard 200 albums, including first five appearances on two of them – here are six examples of his best-known compositions that found new life via covers , samples and tweens that inspired those of other genres and generations, and found success in their own right.

“Lean on me”

Withers’ ode to friendship and support ensured his only Hot 100 # 1 when he dominated the charts for three weeks in 1972, and he regained interest the following decade with a double revival. In 1987, the R&B Club Nouveau group reorganized the song as a light, reggae anthem, and the cover was turned to the front row of the Hot 100 for a two-week reign. The success made “Lean” the fifth of nine songs to have two different versions, both reaching number 1. In addition, the remake garnered a big award for Withers, who won the Grammy for best R&B song. the following year as composer of the song. . Other renditions of the song have climbed on the Hot 100 since, including takes by the Joy Cast (# 50 in 2009) and Kirk Franklin, with Mary J. Blige, Bono, R. Kelly, Crystal Lewis & The Family (# 79, 1998).

“Just the two of us”

The sensual collaboration with Grover Washington Jr., a # 2 Hot 100 hit in 1981, served as the centerpiece for the 1998 success of Will Smith of the same name. Although Smith moved the narrative of the lovers to a father-son engagement, the tween was another success for the former fresh prince on his Big Willie Style first LP. Smith’s “Us” reached the top 20 Hot 100s, led Hot Rap Songs for two weeks, and climbed to No. 6 on the Pop Songs charts.

Bonus: Keri Hilson also retraces part of her most recent Top 40 Hot 100 hit at “Us”, which is sampled in her “Pretty Girl Rock”. The single, from her No boys allowed album, peaked at number 24 on the Hot 100 in 2011.

” No sun “

Obviously, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s first collaboration, “I know what you did last summer”, is not a remake of Withers, but the first two words of the duo’s title stem from the emblematic soul legend “Ain’t No Sunshine”, with Mendes. and Cabello each recreating the famous vocal riff “I know, I know” from the original in their verses. Using the writing credit “Summer” provided Withers, he added a new top 20 to the songwriter’s collection with his peak # 20 in 2016.

” Beautiful day “

As played by Withers, “Day” became the latest hit in the legend’s Top 100 of the Top 100, reaching 30th in 1978. The jubilant tune – most memorable for a particularly long note towards the end – is perhaps -being Withers’ most versatile composition, largely thanks to its rebirth in the jazz, adult and dance circuits. In 1992, S.O.U.L. The system has redesigned the track as “it’s going to be a great day”. The single was included in the soundtrack for Whitney Houston The bodyguard and became the fifth album – and the only non-Houston track – to break the top 40, reaching 34th in 1992. In addition, the song dominated the Dance Club Songs charts for three weeks and reached 13th on the beat . Song spreadsheet.

Neo-soul singer Jill Scott was also successful with her cover of “Day” in 2001. Her performance reached No. 7 on Smooth Jazz Songs and No. 32 on the airplay ranking of Adult R&B Songs. Jazz musician Victor Fields also took to the air in the R&B adult song chart in 2007 with his own remake, which went to # 27.


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