Because this performance took place in a cozy setting, in front of an intimate audience, its magic is not only in the songs themselves, but also in the way Withers fills the silence before each song. In conjunction with Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble, ArtistsCAN’s rendition of Lean On Me was released as a charity single to raise funds for the Canadian Red Cross’s COVID-19 initiatives. health officials to provide live COVID-19 update on Monday, ‘To my dear friend Gabriel Wortman’: How the Nova Scotia killer got his guns and wealth, Biden plans to block Keystone XL pipeline with day 1 order, documents show, Close Trump allies behind rally that sparked U.S. Capitol riot: records, Canada OKs troubled Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets to resume service this week, B.C. Entertainment Withers was known for his earnest delivery of music and lyrics that spoke to millions across the decades. Bill Withers during the photo session for his 1974 album, “+‘Justments,” where he wrote on glass the meaning of the title. READ MORE: But the recording of this BBC set, extant via YouTube, cuts straight to the meat of the Withers catalog. “In this current climate, the lyrics seem more profound than ever. The Leon On Me singer, who also wrote Lovely Day and Ain't No Sunshine, passed away … In 1985, he became fed up with white record executives trying to tell him how and what to sing, or how to promote his album. Bill Withers, who died this past week, and John Prine, now hospitalized with COVID-19, rose from working-class roots to become touchstone singer-songwriters. BILL WITHERS has died aged 81 following heart complications. The 1972 soul classic was not only covered by the likes of Canuck legends Avril Lavigne and Michael Bublé but Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan and a heavily autotuned Justin Bieber, too. Perhaps that’s because of his unconventional path to musical success. Norway warns of vaccination side-effects, deaths in some patients over 80, Trump preparing to issue over 100 pardons, commutations on Tuesday: source. Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) is a writer from the east side of Columbus, Ohio. At least in this song, Withers was a cynic, as I am sometimes. The version that sends me running to my phone to call someone I miss, just to hear their voice. It opens, immediately, with “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Just Withers plucking guitar strings with his thumb, while minimalist bass and percussion grow at his back. He didn’t release any new music for the last 35 years of his life. Others, like Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys (portrayed by Mike Smith), were seen holding pieces of paper with messages to the country. US soul singer Bill Withers, who was behind a string of hits in the 1970s including Lean On Me, Lovely Day and Ain’t No Sunshine, has died from heart complications aged 81. What I have always lamented about Bill Withers is that he often isn’t included in the mainstream pantheon of the Great Black Soul Singers. Canadian artists come together in ‘Lean on Me’ cover for coronavirus relief. I know when that BBC camera zooms in on Withers while he sings “Lean On Me,” it looks, briefly, like he’s crossed over from pain to gratitude. Avril Lavigne re-records ‘Warrior’ in honour of coronavirus front-line workers. Details on how to donate to the Canadian Red Cross can be found here. And yet, with the loss of Withers, I’m grieving anew. I know I’ll miss Bill Withers, even though I know I’d been missing him for most of my life. Sometimes shyly rambling. And because even my friends who aren’t miles away feel miles away. READ MORE: Mike Smith (Bubbles) of the ‘Trailer Park Boys’ in ArtistsCAN’s ‘Lean On Me’ charity video for the Canadian Red Cross’s COVID-19 relief efforts on April 26, 2020. READ MORE: Life as a marathon of losses, loves that might never return. https://globalnews.ca/news/6871779/lean-on-me-charity-cover-coronavirus-relief Questions about COVID-19? ArtistsCAN’s Lean On Me Canadian charity single is now available through all major streaming platforms. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities. His debut album “Just As I Am,” was released that next year, and on its cover, there is Withers, 32, leaning on a wall outside Weber Aircraft, lunchbox in hand. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Want to discuss? I wanted to cover it; I wanted to help.”, “ArtistsCAN is true artist-to-artist connection,” said Dobson, 35. So I did, pulling up a YouTube video of him playing live in concert for the BBC in 1973. Your musical legacy lives on through us.”. If there is a mythology of Withers it is one of the working everyday man. Here are some tips. Withers died as the coronavirus was spreading across the country and people were in quarantine. While trying to get his music career off the ground, he worked in various factories, doing assembly work, saving money to record his own demo tapes. – Mar 12, 2020, 13 ‘Hugs Over Masks’ protestors charged after another demonstration at Hamilton city hall, B.C. I know it has rained so much this spring that I couldn’t go outside most days even if I wanted to. The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Withers died Monday at 81 of what his family has described as "heart complications." Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “ Lean on Me, ” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The Associated Press. I notice how at the end of the BBC performance, seconds after Withers flicks the final note on “Harlem,” the set’s closing song, he barely waits for the audience to clap. The singer is resigned, having endured enough to know that endurance is often rewarded with fresh upsets to endure. the first man in his family to not work in the coal mines of West Virginia. Legendary singer Bill Withers dies 03:44 Legendary soul artist Bill Withers has died from heart complications, his family confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press. But his loss, coming at … “Thank you first responders,” read a number of signs, which paid homage to the front-line health-care workers fighting the novel coronavirus across not just Canada but the rest of the globe, too. Coronavirus, Masks, Bill Withers: Your Friday Evening Briefing ... for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans wear face masks in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus… Bill Withers in Beverley Hills, Calif., in 2015.Credit...Jake Michaels for The New York Times. Mr. Abdurraqib is a poet and cultural critic. For this, the sentimental moments within his music feel more vulnerable and float above the emptiness of the feel-good machinery within so much of the celebrity-media industrial complex — the mutually assured sanitized reproduction of life. And it’s the version that sits with an exceptionally heavy weight on me now, because Bill Withers is gone. These parts glow because of how comfortable Withers grows with speaking as the show goes on — with a voice that sounds, even back then, like a patient and anxious but wise elder you or I have known. The collective artist initiative, known officially as ArtistsCAN, was organized and set up by Juno Award-nominated singer-songwriters Tyler Shaw and Fefe Dobson. His death has not been linked to the Covid-19 virus. He was 81. It began sometime late last year, with my desire to see aging artists as they once were — the ones who could no longer dance or slide across a stage as they could in their younger days. Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Withers, in both formal interviews and informally recorded banter, could sometimes be crass, even abrasive, but rarely was he oversentimental. Bill Withers, known for writing and singing enduring hit songs from the 1970s such as "Lean on Me," "Lovely Day" and "Ain't No Sunshine," died from heart complications at age 81 in April. Today, in hearing Bill Withers sing “If there is a load you have to bear / That you can’t carry / I’m right up the road / I’ll share your load,” it feels like an entire universe of grief is colliding. He was the first man in his family to not work in the coal mines of West Virginia. There’s a healthy chance you too will find yourself nodding along or whispering the signature, circular moan of “I know, I know, I know” employed in “Ain’t No Sunshine.” A moment which, to me, has never sounded like anguish, but what comes after anguish — the understanding that this heartbreak is just one in an ever-growing tapestry of them. Near the end of the 1973 BBC concert, Withers shifts from his guitar over to a piano to play a singular rendition of “Lean On Me,” his ode to the selfless and shared duty of friendship, written after he moved to Los Angeles and longed for everyone he loved back in West Virginia. Artwork cover for the ArtistsCAN ‘Lean On Me’ cover for COVID-19 relief efforts. Earlier this month, the two enlisted the massive, star-studded roster of Canadian musicians to record Lean On Me from the comfort of their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some things you need to know: Health officials caution against all international travel. He was 81 years old. Withers kept working, installing toilet seats for commercial airplanes. Ron DeSantis spars with CNN reporter over state's COVID-19 … Bill Withers’ ‘Lean on Me’ Is a Song for Every Crisis — Especially This One From earthquakes to hurricanes to COVID-19, singer’s 1972 single remains an anthem of togetherness and resilience Rolling Stones drop ‘Living in a Ghost Town,’ 1st song in 8 years. His read “#CanadaStrong” and “#NovaScotiaStrong,” acknowledging the horrific shooting that took place in Portapique, N.S., on April 18 and 19. What’s cancelled or postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic? https://heavy.com/entertainment/2020/04/bill-withers-cause-of-death Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. We are grateful to lean on music during our time of need. The three-time Grammy Award winning artist has died. Get a roundup of the most important and intriguing national stories delivered to your inbox every weekday. Bill Withers was suffering from a heart condition ... Withers passed away on Monday in Los Angeles at a time when his songs have been a source of inspiration amid the coronavirus epidemic. https://www.stanthonysfoundation.org/CoronavirusResponseCover of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" featuring Dr. Jamii St. Julien. Bill Withers, 'Lean on Me' and 'Ain't No Sunshine' Singer, Dies of Heart Complications at 81 this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. There are undoubtedly better, more sprawling and inclusive performances from Withers during this era: His famed concert at Carnegie Hall, for instance, covers more ground, and is more elaborate. To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. Even before a pandemic caused this endless ache for the community of the outside world; before the puddles on my city block no longer reflected the buzzy lights from open shops at night; and before I spoke to everyone I loved through a parade of various screens (“Zooms,” “Hangouts,” “FaceTimes”), I had gotten in the habit of watching old concert videos in the mornings. In the smoothest transition of the performance, Withers takes a breath after ending “Grandma’s Hands.” Looking down for a second, before devilishly looking back up with a half-grin and saying, “Usually after that point in your life, the ladies that you meet might have a whole other kind of use for you;” launching into the slithering funk of “Use Me.”. And I did. Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. He refused to quit his job at Weber Aircraft, even after he got signed to Sussex Records in 1970. Bill Withers, the legendary performer who delivered timeless hits like "Ain't No Sunshine" with silky yet funkified vocals and came to define 1970s soul, has died. https://www.tmz.com/2020/04/03/bill-withers-dead-dies-at-81-lean-on-me What’s cancelled or postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic? The three-time Grammy winner — who is survived by … Bill Withers, a three-time Grammy Award winning artist, died Monday at the age of 81, and I wanted to see him alive again. In one of those heartwarming bits of insight, he humbly talks to the audience about how it’s “fun to be traveling from one large city to another large city all over the world.” But that for a small town West Virginian like him, “When you first come to a very large place you feel a little odd.” Before finding out that knowing all “800 people” in your town leaves you, “maybe,” much better off than being in a place with “eight million people and you didn’t really know anybody.” Then, after a half-pause, he starts up “Lonely Town Lonely Street.”. Sometimes stumbling over his words a bit on the path to saying to something heartwarming, or brilliant. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. © 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. (L-R) Canadian musicians Bryan Adams, Avril Lavigne and Justin Bieber. An audience to the joyful slapping of tambourines and the maternal, stern warnings evoked in the song all at once. As a final musical treat during Sunday evening’s all-Canadian charity TV special Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble, more than two dozen artists — old and new — banded together for a virtual ensemble of the late Bill Withers‘ Lean On Me. For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here. Canadian superstars like environmental activist David Suzuki and broadcaster George Stroumboulopoulos were seen throughout the video. This version has always been the version I return to. Bill Withers in Beverley Hills, Calif., in 2015. He hops out of his chair and walks into the all-consuming darkness offstage, as if despite the applause and newfound fame he couldn’t wait to get gone. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate. Sign up here. The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, his family said. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/04/opinion/bill-withers-coronavirus.html Bill Withers, famed ‘Lean On Me’ singer-songwriter, dies at 81. I know there is more than enough grief in today’s world to fill all of our glasses today, tomorrow and the next day. Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.” Withers was born July 4th, 1938, and grew up in Slab Fork, West Virginia, in the final years of the Great Depression. In this story, there is no romantic mythology of a childhood prodigy, or someone who blew the roof off a church in a small town before being driven off in a Cadillac to go make hit records. What a gift, to be able to put it so magically, and so memorably. On putting together ArtistsCAN, Shaw, 27, said: “When I heard of Bill Withers’ passing, I was listening to all his legendary music and I really dove into the lyrics of Lean On Me — a song I’ve heard hundreds of times. And he had enough of a life before music to know how to walk away from it when he’d had enough. “We know there a lot of people who are struggling, who have lost their jobs, who can’t financially contribute. ‘Stronger Together’ — Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé and more unite for Canadian coronavirus special, The emotional video began with a message for the “late, great Bill Withers.”, It read: “Thank you for your lyrics and inspiring message. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. By the time he plays “Grandma’s Hands,” the plodding of his guitar becomes a transportation device, and viewers — in that audience in ’73 or watching from home now — are in church with clapping grandmothers. So this is a way to help because by just streaming the song, or watching the video, the proceeds go directly to the Canadian Red Cross to help fight this virus.”. bigfoot hunters say reported sighting was actually a moose, Lost B.C. Please read our Commenting Policy first. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com. He began adulthood in the military, joining in 1956 at age 17, before moving to Los Angeles in 1967. His latest book is “A Fortune For Your Disaster.”. Bill Withers’s ‘Lean on Me’ Has Been a Constant Comfort Through the Coronavirus Zoe Haylock 4/4/2020 Florida Gov. Some people can develop a more severe illness. He was 81. As both a celebration of timeless human brilliance and a reminder of its limits, our fascinating mortality. Bill Withers, ‘Lean on Me,’ ‘Lovely Day’ singer, dies at 81 His family said in a statement that the three-time Grammy Award winner died on Monday in Los Angeles. 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