Ain't No Sunshine
|"Ain't No Sunshine"|
|Single by Bill Withers|
|from the album Just As I Am|
|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. The song was recorded in Memphis by engineer Terry Manning.
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 films When We Were Kings (1997) and Notting Hill (1999), and was featured in the first season (2016) of FX's anthology limited series American Crime Story, which focuses on the 1994 murder trial of O. J. Simpson.
Withers was inspired to write the 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 31, was working at a factory making bathrooms for 747s at the time he wrote the song. When the song went gold, the record company presented Withers with a golden toilet seat, marking the start of his new career. "Ain't No Sunshine" was the first of Withers' three gold records in the U.S.
Originally released as the B-side to another song called "Harlem", "Ain't No Sunshine" was preferred by disc jockeys, and it became a huge hit, Withers' first. "Harlem" was subsequently covered by The 5th Dimension, who featured it on their Soul and Inspiration album and released it as a single.
Withers performed "Ain't No Sunshine" on The Old Grey Whistle Test. It won the Grammy for Best R&B Song in 1972 and is ranked 285th on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||600,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
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 3, 1972|
|Studio||Hitsville West, Los Angeles, California|
|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. The song was remixed by Benny Blanco for the 2009 release The Remix Suite. The song's drum break was sampled in "Gonna Love Me" by Teyana Taylor from her second studio album K.T.S.E..
Boris Gardiner version
Budka Suflera version
The Polish rock band Budka Suflera recorded a cover version of the song in 1974 under the title "Sen o dolinie", with Krzysztof Cugowski providing the lead vocal. The single also appeared on their 1983 compilation album "1974-1984" released by Polskie Nagrania Muza. The Polish lyrics were written by Adam Sikorski.
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 (OCC)||42|
- The Nylons covered "Ain't No Sunshine" in 1998. Their version reached #53 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart.
- The heavy metal band Black Label Society covered the song on their 2013 album Unblackened under the title "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone". This version was subsequently released as a single, peaking at No. 42 on the Canadian Rock Chart.
- Electronic musician and producer Lido remixed the song in 2014. This version was released as under Sony Music and Ultra Music as an official remix in 2015, and has since garnered critical acclaim.
- Avant-folk group Wovenhand covered the song twice, on their debut album Woven Hand and subsequently on their second album Blush Music. Chris Nickson cites the version on the debut as particularly exemplifying the album's feel, while Jason Nickey notes the revisions on the rerecording as "[t]his time menacing bird caws, distant voices, what sounds like a crackling fire, and a raga-like banjo make for a deeply affecting 14-minute mini-epic of psychedelic gospel-folk".
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another day paul mccartney.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2020 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- "Italian single certifications – Bill Withers – Ain't No Sunshine" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 21, 2020. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Ain't No Sunshine" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
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- "American single certifications – Bill Withers – Ain't No Sunshine". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 21, 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
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- Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine (Lido Remix)"
- Wovenhand - Wovenhand | AllMusic
- Wovenhand - Blush Music | AllMusic