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William Harrison Withers Jr, known professionally as Bill Withers, is an American singer/songwriter/musician who rose to prominence in the 1970s. Withers was born in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, and raised in nearby Beckley. He became interested in singing and writing songs while serving in the United States Navy. Withers left the Navy in 1965, and using $250 he received from selling his furniture to IBM co-worker Ron Sierra, he relocated to Los Angeles in 1967 to start a music career. In early 1970, Withers’ demonstration tape was auditioned favorably by Sussex Records head Clarence Avant, who signed Withers to a recording contract. In 1971, Withers released his debut album “Just As I am.” The album featured the singles “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Grandma’s Hands.” Withers’ sophomore effort, “Still Bill”, contained the singles “Lean On Me” and “Use Me.” At this time, Withers wrote the song “I Feel A Song” for Gladys Knight & The Pips. In 1975, Withers signed with Columbia Records after Sussex folded. His debut album for the label, “Making Music, Making Friends”, contained the single “She’s Lonely”, which was featured in the film “Looking For Mr. Goodbar”. Due to problems with Columbia having trouble approving songs for his album, Withers chose to focus on joint projects from 1977 to 1985, including “Just The Two Of Us”, with jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr, which was released in June 1980. Withers also charted with the single “Lovely Day.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Withers released the albums “Just As I Am” (1971), “Still Bill” (1972), “Justments” (1974), “Making Music” (1975), “Naked & Warm” (1976), “Menagerie” (1977), “Bout Love” (1978) and “Watching You Watching Me” (1985).

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