Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including ‘Lean On Me’, ‘Lovely Day’ and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ has died from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The Associated Press. He was 81.
The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, the statement said. His death comes as the public has drawn inspiration from his music during the coronavirus pandemic, with health care workers, choirs, artists and more posting their own renditions on “Lean on Me” to help get through the difficult times.
The twice-nominated folk musician, Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten won her first Grammy at 90 years old.
Fiercely proud of her North Carolina roots, her lyrics and melodies weave intricate tales about her life in the South. A singer and songwriter, The Grateful Dead produced several renditions of “Oh, Babe, It Ain’t No Lie,” a song she composed. Bob Dylan covered other songs she created including “Shake Sugaree” and “Freight Train.”
It might seem odd to claim that one of the most universally popular entertainers in the world is underrated. But Charlie Chaplin is. Not necessarily as a comedian, actor or director, but as a composer. Most people know the themes Smile, Eternally, and This Is My Song, but they probably don’t know that Chaplin wrote them – for Modern Times, Limelight and A Countess from Hong Kong, respectively. Film buffs might know that from 1931’s City Lights onwards, he composed the scores for all of his films, and that as an old man he wrote new music for his earlier films. Yet he is never mentioned in talk of the great film composers, and in a recent Radio Times poll of top film themes, Chaplin’s name was nowhere to be seen.
For Suzi Quatro, portraying intimidating rocker chick Leather Tuscadero on the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days” was art imitating life. A veteran musician who came up in the rough and tumble rock scene of 1960s Detroit, her tough-but-sexy small-screen persona wasn’t an act, and it’s served Quatro well in her pioneering role as arguably the first prominent female musicians to front a band, and rock as hard as a man. She was frequently mentioned when the Runaways released their first album in 1976, and it’s safe to say there could have been no Joan Jett without Suzi Quatro. Now 68, and with a new album — ‘No Control’ — out today, Quatro remains an icon of cool, and notes that at least partially because of her tough image, guys didn’t mess with her, and anyone who tried got shut down, hard.