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Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" is very likely one of the most instantly recognizable tracks in recorded history. The refrain is a second language for most of us, ubiquitous without ever losing its raw appeal. During his acceptance speech earlier this year at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Withers was characteristically charming — playing down the power of "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean on Me," and his slew of classics while also championing his famous aversion to dealing with the "antagonistic and redundant" A&R men of the Columbia era.
Currently on an admirably self-guided quest of music history appreciation and rediscovery, Jhené Aiko notes Withers as "not only a genius songwriter, but an amazing singer and musician." Following her much-discussed Tupac tribute, Aiko shared a masterful Bill Withers medley including stripped down renditions of the aforementioned "Ain't No Sunshine" and the hit "Lovely Day." Alongside its release, she shared a note with The FADER on the inspiration behind her ongoing journey through the past:
We live in a day and age where young people don’t have much patience. No patience to read anything longer than 140 characters. No patience to research. No patience to study the history of the art they want so desperately to be a part of. Not only is there a lack of patience, but a lack of respect. There’s not a lot of respect being given to the true artists that came before us. Everyone is so hell bent on being THE best that no one is taking the time to honor the individuals who have influenced us.