A Closer Look At R&B Icon Bill Withers’ Life Outside Of The Spotlight

Jenna Goldberg | April 4, 2020 7:02 pm

A coal miner’s son from West Virginia, Bill Withers had dreams that were bigger than his hometown of Slab Fork. In 1971, Withers began writing and recording soul, R&B, and blues songs that became big hits, including “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Lean On Me.” While he’s one of the most recognizable voices in R&B, Withers didn’t stay in the spotlight for long. Even his fans don’t know much about the talented musician’s life. In 1985, after a fall-out with Columbia Records, Withers stopped recording and performing, retiring to a quiet life as a family man, working a normal job in Los Angeles. Take a closer look at the life of Bill Withers.

Born In A Coal Mining Town, The Youngest Of Six Children

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Withers was born in 1938 and raised in poor, rural towns around West Virginia where his father worked as a coal miner. He was the youngest of six children and his childhood wasn’t easy. His father passed away when he was just 13-years old.

He told Rolling Stone, “I’m not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with. I don’t think I’ve done bad for a guy from Slab Fork, West Virginia.”