Ain't No Sunshine
|"Ain't No Sunshine"|
|Single by Bill Withers|
|from the album Just As I Am|
|Genre||Soul, R&B, blues|
|Producer(s)||Booker T. Jones|
|Bill Withers singles chronology|
"Ain't No Sunshine" is a song by Bill Withers from his 1971 album Just As I Am, produced by Booker T. Jones. The record featured musicians Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums and Stephen Stills on guitar. String arrangements were done by Booker T. Jones, and recorded in Memphis by engineer Terry Manning. The song is in the key of A minor.
The song was released as a single in 1971, becoming a breakthrough hit for Withers, reaching number six on the U.S. R&B Chart and number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 23 song for 1971. The song also appears on the original soundtrack album for the film When We Were Kings (1997), and in FX's first season (2016) of the anthology limited series American Crime Story, which focuses on 1994 murder trial of O. J. Simpson.
Withers was inspired to write this song after watching the 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses. He explained, in reference to the characters played by Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon, "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."
For the song's third verse, Withers had intended to write more lyrics instead of repeating the phrase "I know" 26 times, but then followed the advice of the other musicians to leave it that way: "I was this factory worker puttering around," Withers said. "So when they said to leave it like that, I left it."
Withers, then thirty-one years old, was working at a factory making toilet seats for 747s at the time he wrote the song. On the American Top 40 program of November 6, 1976, Casey Kasem reported that when the song went gold, the record company presented Withers with a golden toilet, marking the start of his new career. "Ain't No Sunshine" was the first of Withers' three gold records in the U.S.
The song was originally released as the B-side to another song called "Harlem". Disc jockeys played "Ain't No Sunshine" as the single instead, and it became a huge hit, the first for Withers. "Harlem" was subsequently covered by The 5th Dimension, which was featured on their Soul and Inspiration album and released as a single.
Michael Jackson version
|"Ain't No Sunshine"|
|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Got to Be There|
|B-side||"I Wanna Be Where You Are"|
|Released||July 2, 1972 (UK only)|
Hitsville West, Los Angeles, California
|Genre||Soul, Psychedelic soul|
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
In the UK the song was released as the third (and final) single from the album (after the two singles "Got to Be There" and "Rockin' Robin", a cover of Bobby Day's 1958 song). (The song "I Wanna Be Where You Are", which was released as the third single in the US, was on the B-side.) It was a hit, peaking in the UK Singles Chart at number 8 for 3 weeks in September 1972.
Boris Gardiner version
Boris Gardiner recorded a version of “Ain't No Sunshine” in 1973, as part of The Boris Gardiner Happening - Is Whats Happening (album), accompanied by Tinga Stewart, Paul Douglas, and Larry McDonald on vocals.
Rockmelons featuring Deni Hines version
|"Ain't No Sunshine"|
|Single by The Rockmelons feat. Deni Hines|
|from the album Form 1 Planet|
|Label||Festival Mushroom Records|
|The Rockmelons feat. Deni Hines singles chronology|
In November 1991, Australian pop band Rockmelons, (featuring vocalist Deni Hines) released a version as the lead single from their second studio album, Form 1 Planet (1992). The song peaked at number 5 and was certified Gold in Australia.
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||8|
Ladysmith Black Mambazo featuring Des'ree version
|"Ain't No Sunshine"|
|Single by Ladysmith Black Mambazo feat. Des'ree|
|from the album In Harmony|
|Ladysmith Black Mambazo feat. Des'ree singles chronology|
In 1999, South African male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, (featuring vocalist Des'ree) released a version as a single from their studio album, In Harmony (1999). The single peaked at number 42 in the UK.
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||42|
Polish band Budka Suflera covered the song in 1974 under the title "Sen o dolinie" (literally: One Dream about the Valley) as a non-album track (without releasing a single too). It was later added to the band's compilation albums.
In 2013, heavy metal band Black Label Society covered the song on their album Unblackened under the title "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone". Their version was subsequently released as a single, which peaked at #42 on the Canadian Rock Chart.
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