With only two years of studio experience under his belt, a 34-year-old Bill Withers wrote and recorded “Lean on Me,” which began its first stay at No. 1 on the Billboard pop and R&B charts on July 8, 1972.
Withers was a full-time factory worker when he wrote one of the most beloved pop songs of the modern era. The success of “Lean on Me” finally convinced the gifted singer and songwriter to quit his day job.
"For a long time I didn't really accept my new career," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1975. "It was like I was on vacation from the factory and at some point I would have to take my tool box and go back to work.”
A hip hop remix of “Lean on Me” released by Club Nouveau would later return Withers’s song to the No. 1 spot on the pop charts in March 1987.
Watch this video below of Withers as he has a candid talk with Hill Harper about his legendary career and life at BETX.
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(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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