Bill Withers Songs Ranked

The son of a maid and a coal miner, William Harrison Withers, Jr. was born in Slab Fork, West Virginia on July 4, 1938, and was raised in nearby Beckley. He wrote his first song at the age of four, but his talent wouldn’t truly manifest for another three decades. Withers spent his late teens and most of his twenties in the U.S. Navy, where he served as an aircraft mechanic. Discharged after nine years of service, Withers relocated to San Jose, where he worked as a milkman, made aircraft parts, and eventually worked on planes. While at an Oakland club to see Lou Rawls, Withers overheard how much the star would be profiting from the gig, and was consequently motivated to buy a guitar and develop his singing and writing skills.
Withers won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song for “Ain’t No Sunshine” at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards in 1972. The track had already sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in September 1971. During a hiatus from touring, Withers recorded his second album, Still Bill. The single, “Lean on Me” went to number one the week of July 8, 1972. It was Withers’s second gold single with confirmed sales in excess of three million. His follow-up, “Use Me” released in August 1972, became his third million-seller, with the R.I.A.A. gold disc award taking place on October 12, 1972.  His performance at Carnegie Hall on October 6, 1972, was recorded and released as the live album Bill Withers, Live at Carnegie Hall on November 30, 1972. Here are all of Bill Withers’ songs ranked.

Don’t miss out on the CLASSIC music of Bill Withers below! Click to enjoy award-winning songs and timeless pieces from this master musician!

20. Hello Like Before (Making Music, 1975)

“I absolutely love this song and I would recommend it to anyone. I consider this as nice relaxing music that can be slipped into many social settings as well as private. A great classic by Bill Withers!!!”

19. Harlem (Just as I Am, 1971)

“Harlem”, a vibrant if slightly jaundiced vision of the famous black district of New York, which owes a lot to the Drifters’ “On Broadway” both lyrically and musically.”

18. I Want to Spend the Night (Menagerie, 1977)

“This is one of my favorite Bill Withers song. It is such as romantic song with very nice lyrics. I have it on m playlist for my daily walk. Love it. Funky beat, but not quite as good as Lovely Day or Ain’t no Sunshine”

17. Let Me in Your Life (Still Bill, 1972)

 “Let Me in Your Life” is another one of those interesting heartfelt love songs that Wither does so well. “Let Me in Your Life” speaks for everyone who’s ever gotten involved with someone whose on the rebound from someone else.”

See more: Bill Withers Albums Ranked

16. Paint Your Pretty Picture (Making Music, 1975)

“How does no one talk about this song, it’s beautiful but it’s not even that popular. Highly underrated. Listen to this song and you might understand what I mean.”

15. Rosie (Menagerie, 1977)

“Some singers have a voice that can really only convincingly show one side of the emotional spectrum, and that’s not all bad; however, Bill Withers can communicate a wide range of emotions and that is what I like most about him.”

14. Make a Smile for Me (+’Justments, 1974)

“Make a Smile for Me” is slightly reminiscent, musically, of “Let Me In Your Life”, and just as attractive. Just warmth, bliss and an indescribable sort of country-styled soulful testifyin’, set to a melancholic melody. Here, too, the strings blend in perfectly, never becoming intrusive.”

13. I Wish You Well (Making Music, 1975)

“Absolutely one of the best songs ever and perfect for New Year’s Day. Bill Withers is a legend. Beautiful song! Absolutely love it! Simply perfection at its best.

12. Friend of Mine (Live at Carnegie Hall, 1973)

“he sound is clean, the band is killer and renders the versions of the song sufficiently different from the studio cuts and Bill’s in between patter is some of the best I’ve heard- he really could have been a standup comic in another life.”

11. Tender Things (Menagerie, 1977)

“They do not make singers like Bill anymore. This song is beautiful, no sexual overtones, no bad grammar, no bull, just Bill eloquently expressing his love for his woman. Now that i think about it, they don’t write songs like this anymore either. So simple but beautiful.”

10. Who is He (And What is He to You)? (Still Bill, 1972)

“Who Is He (And What Is He to You)” perches in that superb opening couplet– the in medias res opening is the startling cut to credits. The story’s choked in the flush of its exposition. It’s a drama of two seconds: Bill and has gal are threading a crowded sidewalk, and some schmoe gives him a Look. This has happened to you a few thousand times, and each time, you know it meant something in the neighborhood of nothing. Some guys, no matter how good an eye you have for color, just aren’t gonna like your shirt. Just the way it is. By the time you end your stride, you’ve forgotten the fellow.”

9. Kissing My Love (Still Bill, 1972)

“One of the funkiest tracks from “Still Bill”, Bill comes on strong again with yet another direct lyric, this time in praise of his lady love. Nicely combining wah-wah guitar, zig-zag-ing strings with a vibrant lead vocal, this is another fine single from one of 70’s soul’s most underrated talents.”

8. My Imagination (Naked & Warm, 1976)

“I never heard Bill Withers before, and I came across this song on Pandora. It makes me cry with gratitude, it expresses my feelings about relationships exactly. The recording is excellent.”

7. Grandma’s Hands (Just as I Am, 1971)

“Bill pines for his recently departed granny in a typical example of his down-beat style, drawling the affectionate but probably deliberately simplistic lyric (apparently grandma’s hands used to come in handy) to a modest guitar, bass and drum accompaniment.”

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6. Use Me (Still Bill, 1972)

“Bill Withers didn’t have too many hits but those he did have showed great variety, this song demonstrating that he could funk with the best of them. Not funk in the Parliament / Funkadelic way-out-there sense of course but rather by weaving his sex-obsessed narrative around a tight, spare, snaky little riff, as here on the clavinet. Like his woman, he knows how to tease out expectation, while the song construction, rather like the singer’s plight in the song, just can’t get enough of itself, repeating and repeating itself.”

5. Can We Pretend (+’Justments, 1974)

“Guitarist extraordinaire Jose Feliciano can be heard on the low-key, wistful “Can We Pretend” – Feliciano’s brilliant licks and Withers’ deep, rich baritone make this one of the man’s most heartwarming yet, considering the lyrical topicality, gut wrenching tales on love, fidelity and longing.”

4. Just the Two of Us (Winelight 1980)

“Sweet and simply. Demonstrates the theme that love truly does conquer all: “Just the two of us/ We can make it if we try”. Love in it’s purest form. Love in spite of the odds. A song portraying the feelings that every human hopes to feel for another at some point in their lives”

3. Ain’t No Sunshine (Just As I Am, 1971)

“Ain’t No Sunshine” is the most affecting track written by the recently-departed Bill Withers. Looking at the song’s run-time and lyric sheet, one might be forgiven for not expecting a major statement, but Withers wrestles a remarkable amount of emotion from the track’s seemingly-slight stature.”

2. Lean on Me (Still Bill, 1972)

“Brilliant single.  “Lean on Me” is probably the only positively life-affirming hit single that isn’t cheesy or unbearably sentimental.  It is aided by Bill Withers’ confident, self-assured vocals and the track’s impeccable arrangement.  The B-side is the complete opposite, a funky, sinister number about a no-good man who thinks he’s “better off dead” than living a life that disappoints those around him.  This is a great pairing of songs.”

1. Lovely Day (Menagerie, 1977)

“”Lovely Day” is super smooth, super slick late 70s lite FM pop. Sounds like I’m putting it down but not really, that song is like drinking champagne in a bathtub with a top hat on. If “Lovely Day” doesn’t bring a smile to your face, go outside and play in the rain.”