Fans are remembering the late Bill Withers’ final public appearances in the wake of his death – watch footage of those moments below.
The influential soul singer’s death on Monday (March 30) was confirmed in a statement from his family earlier today (April 3), which said the 81-year-old had died from heart complications.
Withers retired from music after his 1985 album ‘Watching You Watching Me’ failed to chart in the Top 40. Since then, he made a handful of notable appearances in public, including when he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2015.
The singer was honoured at the annual ceremony, where he was inducted by Stevie Wonder. “I think what determines a great songwriter and a singer is when they are able to let you feel every word that they sing and express,” he said introducing Withers at the event.
“You see, I’ve always felt that Bill Withers’ songs were songs that were for every single culture there is. When I think of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, I say, ‘I wish I could have written that song.’”
In his speech, Withers reflected: “We got lucky when the DJs turned the first single over and the b-side not only became a hit but somewhat of a signature song for me – ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. It’s been a wonderful odd odyssey, with ups, downs and sometimes screw-me-arounds.
“But I will always remember the good things. The bottom line is – check this out – Stevie Wonder knows my name and the brother just put me in the Hall Of Fame.”
After he was inducted, Wonder and John Legend performed tributes to Withers, playing versions of two of his most renowned songs – ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Lean On Me’. Withers joined the pair for the latter, singing its last choruses with them.
In October 2015, a special tribute show to Withers was held at New York’s Carnegie Hall, recreating his seminal live album ‘Live At The Carnegie Hall’. Ed Sheeran, Aloe Blacc, and Dr. John were among the musicians to perform covers of tracks from the record.
In a speech at the end of the show, Withers said: “I’m still amazed that all these [people] even know my name.”
Tributes have been paid to Withers since the news of his death broke earlier today. “Bill was a ‘songwriter’s songwriter’ and wrote so many great songs,” The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson wrote. “A real loss.”
Lenny Kravitz added: “Rest in power Bill Withers. Your voice, songs, and total expression gave us love, hope and strength. My soul always has & always will be full of your music.”