Bill Withers

Ain't No Sunshine

Song Review by

Bill Withers is best known for the million-selling classic "Lean on Me," which topped both the R&B and pop charts in spring 1972. But it was actually another gold single that first introduced the singer/songwriter to the public. The West Virginia native had toiled away at various jobs including making toilets before he was introduced to Sussex Records head Clarence Avant. "Ain't No Sunshine" is a mellow ballad that's awash with soothing strings as Withers' folksy drawls emote that there's darkness when the love of his life is missing. The mid-song break is an amazing showcase of the singer's breath control. Withers' Sussex sides included top session musicians including former members of Charles Wright's Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band best known for "Express Yourself" and "Loveland": drummer James Gadson, keyboardist Ray Jackson, guitarist Benorce Blackman (co-wrote with Withers, "The Best You Can" from Making Music), and bassist Melvin Dunlop. Winning a Grammy as Best R&B Song, "Ain't No Sunshine" sold more than a million copies, going to number six R&B and number three pop in summer 1971.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Just as I Am 1971 Legacy 2:05
No Image 1980 Sony BMG
Greatest Hits 1981 Columbia 2:06
Sounds of the Seventies: 1971 1989
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:04
Soul Hits of the 70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind!, Vol. 6 1991
Various Artists
Rhino 2:06
No Image 1992
Various Artists
Stardust Records 4:12
AM Gold: The Early '70s 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:05
The Buddah Box 1993
Various Artists
Essex 2:03
Easy Listening [ZYX] 1994
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:03
The Story of Soul Music 1995
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 0:00
Only Love: 1970-1974 1995
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 2:05
Legacy's Rhythm & Soul Revue 1995
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:04
Love Ballads [Connoisseur Collection] 1995
Various Artists
2:04
Soul [Friedman/Fairfax] 1995
Various Artists
Friedman Fairgfax 2:03
All About Soul [Castle] 1996
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 4:11
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:05
Forever Soul, Vol. 3 [Sony #1] 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:05
Billboard Top Soft Rock Hits: 1971 1997
Various Artists
Rhino
Ain't No Sunshine 1997 Ariola Express 2:05
Mixed Emotions 1997
Various Artists
Polygram 2:04
Men on Top of the Charts 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:05
Highway Rock: Breaking up Is Hard to Do 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:03
Sounds of the Seventies: Classic 70's 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time / Life Music 2:06
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries 1998
Original Soundtrack
CCT 2:54
Soul Grooves, Vol. 3 [Platinum Disc] 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:05
Billboard Top Soft Rock Hits: 1970-1974 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:18
After the Love Has Gone 1999
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Kuschelrock Special Edition 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Top Bill 1999 Sony Music Distribution 2:05
Soul [Book & CD] 1999
Various Artists
Friedman Fairgfax 2:05
Rock On, 1971: Ain't No Sunshine 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:50
Soul Train: The Dance Years 1971 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 2:05
The Best of Bill Withers: Lean on Me 2000 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 4:38
Burning Hearts: Best Sad Songs for Your Soul 2000
Various Artists
Empire DisK / Polygram
Singers & Songwriters: 1970-1971 2000
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:07
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 4:10
Chart Toppers [Sony] 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:05
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:05
Real Cinema 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:04
Super Hits 2001 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:05
Soul Grooves [Platinum Disc 2 CD] 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:05
The Love Album: Classics 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:03
Songs From The Chillout Lounge 2002
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 1:59
Lean on Me 2002 Collectables 2:04
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 70's Singer/Songwriters 2002
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:05
Extreme 70's [1] 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:07
Just as I Am/Still Bill 2003 Raven 2:05
'70s Soul Music for Dummies 2003
Various Artists
Superb Records 2:04
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Realm Records 2:04
More Soul 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:03
Superstars of Seventies Soul 2004
Various Artists
Shout! Factory / Sony Music Distribution 4:29
Les Indispensables 2004 Sony BMG 2:05
Classic Tearjerkers [Time/Life] 2004
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:03
Extreme 70s 2004
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:07
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:04
Old School Love Songs, Vol. 7 2005
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:04
Kiss Me One More Time 2005
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 2:04
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:05
Lovely Day: The Very Best of Bill Withers 2005 Sony Music Distribution 2:03
Ultimate Soul Collection [Sony] 2006
Various Artists
Sony CMG / Sony Music 2:05
Lovely Day: The Very Best of Bill Withers 2006 Bmg / Sony Music Distribution / Sony Music Entertainment 2:03
Best of Bill Withers [MTG] 2007 MTG Productions
Gold: Soft Rock 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:05
Kuschel Jazz, Vol. 4 2007
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:04
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop and Classic R&B [Borders Exclusive] 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:05
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic R&B 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:05
Tour of Duty: Top 100 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:05
The Collection: The Hits of 1971 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution / Sony Music Entertainment 2:05
Forever Friends: A Song for You 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:04
Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs: From Me To You 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:04
No Image 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution / Sony Music Entertainment 2:04
Always a Woman 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music TV 2:03
Chilled R&B: Summer Classics 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:03
Essential: Easy Listening 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:04
Love Songs Actually 2011
Various Artists
Mercury 2:04
S.O.U.L. 2011 Sony Music 2:04
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:07
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution / Source Interlink / Virgin 2:03
I Love Maman 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:03
I Love Papa 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 2:05
The Essential Ballads 2011
Various Artists
Rhino 2:04
Greatest Ever! Sad Songs 2012
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:05
Smooth Soul [Time Life] 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:05
The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums 2012 Legacy 2:57
The Essential Bill Withers 2013 Columbia Records / Legacy / Sony Legacy 2:06
Latest and Greatest Relaxing Songs 2014
Various Artists
USM Media 2:03
Sweet Soul Music: 1971 2014
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:06
The Box Set Series: '70s Soul 2014
Various Artists
Legacy / Legacy Recordings 2:05
The Ultimate Collection [2017] 2017 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Music Entertainment 2:05
Dance Classics: The Remixes, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Arcade Music
Party Tyme Karaoke: Billboard Top 40 Karaoke, Vol. 5 Sybersound Records 2:16
The Box Set Series Columbia / Legacy 2:06
The Golden Era of Pop Music, Vol. 1
Various Artists
CBS Records
The Hits Album, Vol. 10
Various Artists
WEA
Time to Relax [Union Square #2]
Various Artists
Union Square Music / USM Media 2:05