Singer and Songwriter. Grammy award winning Rhythm and Blues singer best known for the songs “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean On Me.” Born in West Virginia, he overcame a childhood stutter while serving in the United States Navy. He worked a series of blue-collar jobs after he was discharged and became interested in music after going to see Lou Rawls perform in a nightclub in Oakland, California. He taught himself how to play guitar and wrote songs between work shifts. In 1971 he recorded his first album, “Just As I Am,” at Sussex Records with Donald “Duck” Jones and Stephen Stills. The album included the hit single, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which sold over a million copies and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. His second album, “Still Bill,” featured the number one single “Lean On Me,” and earned him his second gold single. His third album, “Use Me,” also achieved gold status. He signed with Columbia Records in 1975 and released four more albums. In 1980 he recorded the duet “Just the Two of Us” with Grover Washington, Jr, which appeared on the B-side of Washington’s single, “Make Me a Memory.” “Just the Two of Us” reached number two on the “Billboard Hot 100” and earned him a second Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. From 1971 to 1985, he recorded a total of eight albums, at which time he decided to stop recording and performing. In addition to writing his own music, he also wrote and produced songs for Gladys Knight & the Pips, Jimmy Buffet, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Aaron Neville, Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, and many others. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. He won his third Grammy as the songwriter for the 1987 Club Nouveau remix of “Lean On Me,” and the song was inducted into the “Grammy Hall of Fame” in 2007. Other accolades include the NAACP Image Awards Singer of the Year (1972), the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award (2006), induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2015), and induction into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame (2007).
Bio by: Apollymi