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Friday, March 26, 2010

Lean on Someone

Bill Withers was born in 1938 in Slab Fork, a small coal-mining town in West Virginia. The youngest of six children, he grew up in nearby Beckley, where his father died when young Bill was just 13. After nine years in the Navy, he moved to L.A., where he worked in factories. Even after "Ain't No Sunshine" became his first big hit song, he held onto his job, not believing that income from music could sustain him.

You see, Bill was missing the strong sense of small-town community that had nurtured him. This inspired him to write his biggest hit ever, "Lean on Me":

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

...

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

So lean on somebody who's strong when you're not.

You'll be happier.

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