Former The Voice coach and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine shared a heartbreaking tribute to Bill Withers, the singer-songwriter behind "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean On Me" and other beloved hits. Levine and Maroon 5 recorded a cover of Withers' 1977 hit "Lovely Day." Withers died on March 30 at age 81 from heart complications.
"I had the honor of spending a few days in the studio with Mr. Bill Withers," Levine wrote on Instagram, alongside a classic 1976 photo of a smiling Withers. "We had some brief but quality time together. We shared stories. I fangirled about what an inspiration he was to me as a singer and artist. There are many greats out there. But nobody did it like Bill. Never flashy. Always direct and hit you right smack in the middle of your gut. Lean on Me....Lovely Day...Grandma's Hands....When I'm Kissin My Love....Ain’t No Sunshine...Who is He? These songs shaped me. We love you and you'll always be singing to us In our house all day every day for as long as we are all lucky to be alive. Rest In Peace my friend. We love you."
Withers' family announced the singer's death on Friday. He is survived by his wife, Marcia, and children Todd and Kori. "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other," his family said in a statement to The Associated Press. "As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones."
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Withers shot to sudden fame in 1971 with his debut album Just As I Am, which featured the hit singles "Aint' No Sunshine" and "Grandma's Hands." He followed that up the next year with Still Bill, which included "Lean On Me" and "Use Me." Other hits included "Lovely Day," "Make Love To Your Mind" and "Just The Two Of Us." He recorded his final album in 1985, after which he left the music business behind. In 2015, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fmae and joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. Withers won three Grammys, all in the Best R&B Song category for "Ain't No Sunshine, "Just The Two Of Us" and for "Lean On Me" in 1987, thanks to the Club Nouveau cover.
"Aw man, Bill Withers was really the greatest," Chance the Rapper tweeted on Friday. "Grandma's Hands, Ain't No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Use Me Up, Just The Two Of Us and obviously Lovely Day are some of the best songs of all time. My heart really hurts for him, it reminds me of playing records with at my grandma's house."