“Ain’t No Sunshine” is the second track from American singer-songwriter Bill Withers and his debut studio album, “Just As I Am”, released in 1971. “Ain’t No Sunshine” was written by Withers and produced by Booker T. Jones, with musicians Donald “Duck”Dunn on bass guitar, Al Jackson Jr. on drums and Stephen Stills on guitar.
Bill Withers has publicly stated that the track was inspired by the 1962 movie “Days of Wine and Roses” – more specifically the characters played by Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon. Withers explained: “”They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It’s like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren’t particularly good for you. It’s just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I’m not aware of.” Withers was working at a factory making toilets for Boeing 747 aircrafts at the time of writing the track, age thirty-one. Withers’ work environment and peers actually affected the third verse of the song, where Withers’ repeats the phrase “I know” 26 times. Withers’ asked the opinion of his co-workers on the lyrics of the third verse, and they told him to leave it that way rather than changing the lyrics. Withers stated: “I was this factory worker puttering around… so when they said to leave it like that, I left it.”
There was no official music video for the song, however the official audio is available on Bill Withers’ YouTube Channel. Uploaded in June 2015, the video has 6.6 million views and 105 thousand likes as of mid-May 2020.
Release Date: July 1971
Songwriter: Bill Withers
Producer: Booker T. Jones
Chart Rankings, Certifications, Awards & Accolades: in its year of release, “Ain’t No Sunshine” hit #17 on Australian charts, #9 in Canada, #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the US Billboard Easy Listening, #6 on the US Billboard R&B charts and #4 on the US Cash Box Top 100. “Ain’t No Sunshine” is certified Gold in the US, and Platinum in both Italy and the UK. The track is ranked 285th on the Rolling Stones’ list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, and also won the Grammy for “Best R&B Song” in 1972.
The lyrics to “Ain’t No Sunshine” can be accessed here: LINK