Kevin Kane/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of FameStevie Wonder is among the many artists who’ve been mourning the loss of legendary pop/R&B singer/songwriter Bill Withers, who died last Monday, March 31, from heart complications at age 81. Wonder, who helped induct Withers into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, reveals that just recently, he and Bill had been discussing working together.
“We’d been texting each other. He texted me in January telling me how much he appreciated me being there [at the Rock Hall ceremony] there for him,” Stevie told Billboard on Friday. “Then in February, he texted again, talking about playing together. And I responded that it would be my pleasure, my joy. Just let me know and I’ll be there. That’s the last message I got from him.”
Wonder also said that Withers’ death was “another heartbreak,” and declared, “May the greatness of Bill Withers live forever…People will be listening to his songs and reading his lyrics like they do with great writers from ages ago, saying he was amazing. And yes, he was.”
Stevie also had a suggestion on how other artists could honor and celebrate Bill and his music.
“We’ve got to show a lot of love to his wife and children and keep the legacy of what he left behind going ever strong,” Wonder declared. “I think every artist at some point should record one of his songs on their projects. That’s how you keep it going. He deserves that.”
During the 2015 Rock Hall induction ceremony, Wonder sang Withers’ classic “Ain’t No Sunshine” while Bill sat next to him onstage. Wonder also performed “Lean on Me” and “Use Me” with Withers and John Legend at the event.
If Wonder and Withers had collaborated, it would have been a special moment, since Withers essentially retired in 1985.
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