Saturday, April 4, 2020

Song Lyric of the Day (Bill Withers, Showing ‘We All Need Somebody to Lean On’)

“Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend.”—American singer-songwriter Bill Withers (1938-2020), “Lean on Me,” from his Still Bill LP (1972)

In his short but glorious career, soul singer Bill Withers created songs that not only spread across the airwaves but formed a kind of musical primer for later artists, such as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lovely Day” and “Use Me.”

But the one that feels especially urgent now, amid our current isolation and fear—and the one that makes his loss earlier this week so agonizing—is “Lean on Me.”

His message of mutual aid and understanding can break down barriers of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and religion. It pays as much to heed it now as when he wrote and recorded it nearly a half century ago.

(The photo accompanying this post shows Bill Withers—with Cornell Dupree in the background—at the tribute convert for Withers held Aug. 9, 2008.)

No comments: