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Tribute to Icons II

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

This is the second part of tribute to the icons, we are going to be paying tribute to the guy with one of the most melodious voices ever heard by man. He had attitude and was so sure of himself that he quit making music after a 15 years run. He had a chance to go on and on but chose to stop based on his own principles.

Can anybody forget Bill withers, can you ever forget his smooth soothing voice in the duet with Groover Washington Jr in “ just the two of us” or is it “ lean on me” Bill withers had the voice men!. He won 3 Academy awards out of 9 nominations. He had a phenomenal career that spanned 15 years from 1970 to 1985.

Bill Withers

Early Life

Withers was born William, Harrison Withers Jr, he was the last of 6 children of Mr and Mrs William Withers, born in the state of West Virginia in July 1938. As a kid he had a little stutter, he was raised in Beckley and lost his dad at age 13. He enrolled in the Navy at age 17 and stayed in the Navy for 10 years till 1965, after which he started pursuing his a career in music. He moved to Los Angeles in 1967. In Los Angeles he was working a day job with companies like Douglas aircraft corporation. HE found the time to record demos and was active in the club scene.


The Hawking of his demos finally paid off in 1970 when he met and auditioned for Mr Avant. Owner of Sussex records. that led to the recording of his album " just as i am " that album contained the hit single " aint no sunshine" and also "Granma's hands" The album was a success and Withers then formed a group. Aint no sunshine was nominated for Grammy awards in 1972 and it won. In between touring in 1972 Wither released his second album called " still bill" the album contained the hit single " lean on me" this was another successful million copies selling album

Withers soon had some problems with Sussex records and during those times he did some song or wrote for Gladys Night and the Pips he also did some songs for James Brown and Etta James as well as BB King.

Withers left Sussex records in 1975 and joined other labels, and started releasing song thereafter. In 1977 he released an album called " menagerie" which contained the hit track

"lovely day"

Withers being made of the mindset of Miles Davids was a very principled artist and such usually had problems with their labels, he had legal problems which stayed his hands from recording under a label so he could not do solo albums and so he focused on doing collaborations from 1977 onward. The albums were produced under the label of the artist he collaborated with. One of his most famous Collabo's is the one done with Groover Washington Junior " Just the two of us" with Withers on vocals and Washington on sax it was a global hit in 1980. This jazz fusion album won a Grammy

Just the two of us album sleeve

Withers like i said was now doing collaborations or collabos for short and he did one with the " Crusaders" called " soul shadows" He also did a collabo with Ralph Mcdonald

" in the name of love"

In the name of love album sleeve

Withers being a very determined guy lived by his own rules and would not compromise once he believed in something or a cause of action hence his long running battles with Sussex records and Columbia records. It was no surprise then when he quit music in 1985 and was said to have said he did not miss music and he did not have any regret living his life as a normal guy. His songs were remixed post 1985. He was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2015


Withers won 3 Grammy awards out of 9 nominations

Family Life

He was married 2 times and was said to have sired 2 children and at death his net worth is speculated to be about $25M

Withers & Family


His music career spanned just 15 years due to litigation and his principled life and in the course of his life he recorded the listed albums below, which by the way is not a catalog of all his works

Just as i am 1971

Still bill 1972

Justments 1974

Making Music 1975

Menagerie 1977

'Bout love 1978

Death also consumed Vaughan Mason who lived for 69 years, recently, his music was popular in the 80's , it was a rollerskating anthem. Rock, Skate Roll he died on 3rd April 2020. this guy also succumbed to the ravages of Corona Virus like Manu Dibango.

Mason started his career in 1980 when he formed the group Vaughan mason and crew and signed with Brunswick record

Von Mason and crew

Von Mason

Roller Skate Dance

This about wraps up the tribute to the icons. at musicfreakdom we celebrate both the living and those who have passed on because together they make the music that turns us to freaks.

Once again many thanks to Wikipedia for the research material and the various media whose images we have used.

Click the link below to listen to the songs of the Artists featured on the Blog

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