In a recent interview, Stevie Wonder revealed he had been planning a collaboration with music legend Bill Withers before he sadly passed away on 30th March this year.
Bill, best known for his hits ‘Lean On Me’ and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, passed away from heart complications aged 81. But prior to his death, Stevie said the pair had been in ‘constant contact’, planning to play music together.
“We’d been texting each other,” Stevie explained.
He texted me in January telling me how much he appreciated me being there for him, then in February he texted about playing together.
“I responded that it would be my pleasure, my joy. Just let me know and I’ll be there. That’s the last message I got from him.”
Stevie is now planning to honour Bill’s legacy with his fellow musicians by recording their own versions of the star’s hits:
“We’ve got to show a lot of love to [Bill’s] wife and children and keep the legacy of what he left behind going ever strong. I think every artist, at some point, should record one of his songs on their projects. That’s how you keep it going. He deserves that.”
Bill’s family confirmed his death in a statement, reading: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other. ‘As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”
With three Grammy awards under his belt, Bill stopped making music in the late 1980s. But he continued to be a prominent figure in the music industry, with Stevie inducting Bill into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.