[midlife 150] #123: bill withers “ain’t no sunshine”

June 23, 2010

Album cover for Just As I Am by Bill Withers

#123 Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers, taken from Just As I Am, 1971 [buy from Amazon.co.uk]

It feels a little odd to write a post about this song on what will probably turn out to be the hottest, sunniest day of the year here in London. Anyway…

Ain’t No Sunshine is possibly the best-known and best-loved song by Bill Withers (though it has strong competition from Lean On Me, Just The Two Of Us, Lovely Day, Grandma’s Hands, et al). Though originally released as a b-side, it was his breakthrough track, enabling him – against his better judgement at the time – to give up his factory job to launch a music career.

Apparently inspired by the 1962 film Days Of Wine And Roses, its two minutes convey without fuss just how it feels to be apart from the woman you love. The simplicity of the lyrics is complemented perfectly by the acoustic guitar, drums and strings accompaniment. And Withers’ voice is of course effortlessly magical.

A song to sit back and sink into.

I can’t let this post end without mentioning one of my favourite jokes (or at least one of the favourite jokes I can remember):

Q. How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?
A. Put it in the microwave until it’s Bill Withers.


This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.


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