“Ain’t No Sunshine” Performed by Bill Withers (1971), Michael Jackson (1972) & Jose Feliciano (1972)

January 9, 2012


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#2 AC, #3 Pop, #6 R&B

Composed and performed by Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine” was Withers’ first hit song; and in 1971 it also won him his first of  three  Grammys for the Best R&B Song of the Year! How is that for the start of a music career after spending nine years in the U.S. Navy?!

The song appeared on his first Sussex LP, produced by Booker T. Jones,  entitled “Just as I Am.”

William Harrison Withers, Jr. was born on the 4th of July, 1938 in Slab Fork, WV. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career when he got out the Navy and “Ain’t No Sunshine, released as a B-Side to the single “Harlem,” was flipped over by DJ’s and became a a smash hit! Withers’ career then took off into the stratosphere!

 

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Over at Motown the young and dynamic co-lead singer of the Bubblegum pop group The Jackson 5 was being groomed for his first solo LP. The “Got To Be There”  LP, released January 1972,  charted #3 R&B and #14 Pop. It was then we got to clearly hear the angelic youthful tenor of the youngster Michael Jackson at his best. I,  along with millions of other teenagers, listened to and memorized every note of this awesome freshman CD. There were both covers and originals on the LP and Jackson’s rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” has always bested the great Bill Withers’ IMHO. As much as I love Withers’ original, I must say that Michael’s sweet voice and Motown’s arrangement take the song to another level!

“Ain’t No Sunshine” Composed by Bill Withers

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she always gone too long anytime she goes away

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away

And I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know

Hey I’ll leave the young thing alone
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness everyday

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away

Which version is your favorite? Still Bill’s original or MJ’s cover? Leave a comment to share your thoughts ;-)

Musically Yours,

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Bonus Video: Another Motown Alum (albeit of brief tenure) performs the h&&l outta “Ain’t No Sunshine” live and I love to listen to him sing and play every second of it. Please enjoy this 1972 vintage live performance of  José Montserrate Feliciano García AKA Jose Feliciano, from the YouTube treasure trove of music!

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Filed under:Ain't No Sunshine,Bill Withers,Bill Withers Composer,Grammy Gold,Jose Feliciano,Magnificent Male Vocalists,Michael Jackson,Motown,Motown Covers Pop,Pop/R&B,Pop/Soul,R&B/Soul,Seventies,Sussex

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