The song “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” was the first hit for Bill Withers. He had spent nine years in the U.S. Navy and had a job at a factory that made parts for airplanes. He met Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & The M.G.’s. Jones brought in great musicians for the session with Withers, including Stephen Stills on lead guitar, Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass guitar, and Al Jackson Jr. on drums. Withers said that inspiration for the song, which he wrote, came when he was watching film Days of Wine and Roses and that “sometimes you miss things that weren’t particularly good for you.” The part of “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” where Withers repeats “I know, I know,” was not intentional. It happened when they were recording, and Withers wanted to fill it in with lyrics, but those in the studio said to leave it in. And, it became a poignant and very recognizable part of the song. All the instruments on this record are acoustic. It won a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 1972. The single was from his album Just As I Am. In 1971, the song went to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B Chart.
William Harrison “Bill” Withers, Jr., was born on the fourth of July, 1938, in Slab Fork, West Virginia. He also had hits with “Lean on Me,” Use Me,” “Just the Two of Us,” Lovely Day,” and “Grandma’s Hands.”