Use Me (Bill Withers song)
|Single by Bill Withers|
|from the album Still Bill|
|B-side||"Let Me in Your Life"|
|Bill Withers singles chronology|
"Use Me" is a song, composed and originally recorded by Bill Withers, which was included on his 1972 album Still Bill. It was his second-biggest hit in the United States, released in September 1972, and later reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Use Me" also peaked at No. 2 on the soul chart for two weeks. Withers performed the song on Soul Train on November 4, 1972. Billboard ranked it as the No. 78 song for 1972. The song was certified Gold by the RIAA. The song is noted for its repeated bass figure which is heard alongside a complex rhythm in the percussion.
The singer complains about the advice of friends, who seem to have made it "their appointed duty" to talk the singer out of a romantic relationship that they see as one-sided, and where the singer is "used". But the singer has no doubt in wanting things to continue as they are, and implies that it is pleasurable enough to be "used" in that fashion that being "used up" completely would be welcome.
The singer goes on to describe telling a relative who urges resistance to being "walked on," that envy for the singer's circumstances would follow from really comprehending them.
The singer admits that some of the lover's behavior is abusive—for example, snubbing him when with those of higher status. Finally, as the song fades out, the singer admits to being used, but says that "it ain't too bad the way you're using me, 'cause I sure am using you to do the things you do."
In popular culture
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The song was used in several movies, either in the background or heavily featured, including:
- Background music that Alice Eve's character puts on in the movie She's Out of My League, for the make-out scene on the couch.
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy when the title character meets a girl at a party.
- Any Given Sunday when Dennis Quaid's character returns as the primary quarterback for the Sharks.
- The first episode of the HBO series The Wire, being played during the first scene in Orlando's.
- American Beauty film and soundtrack
- Featured in the 1997 film Boogie Nights directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
- Featured in the trailer for the 2009 film The Soloist directed by Joe Wright.
- In the 2004 film Starsky & Hutch during a three-way make-out session between Owen Wilson, Carmen Electra, and Amy Smart.
- Poolhall Junkies starring Mars Callahan, Christopher Walken, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Rosenbaum, Rick Schroder and Alison Eastwood
A variety of artists have covered the song, including:
- Fiona Apple
- Patricia Barber
- Beans & Fatback
- Better Than Ezra
- Blind Doc K. van Aaken, Rick G, and Piddy
- Rick Braun from "Kisses in the Rain" (2001)
- Holly Golightly
- Ben Harper
- Isaac Hayes
- Vincent Herring, on the album Hard Times
- Hootie & the Blowfish, on their 2000 compilation album Scattered, Smothered and Covered
- The House Jacks, a cappella, on their 2007 live album Get Down Mr. President
- Ike & Tina Turner, on their 1998 album Absolutely The Best
- Mick Jagger featuring Lenny Kravitz in his third album Wandering Spirit (1993)
- Eran James
- Al Jarreau
- Grace Jones, on her 1981 album Nightclubbing
- Kimiko Kasai
- As a duet, Alicia Keys and Rob Thomas
- The Lachy Doley Group
- Lindsay Mac
- Liza Minnelli, on her 1973 album The Singer
- Ian Moss recorded a version for his sixth studio album, Soul on West 53rd (2009).
- My Brightest Diamond
- Aaron Neville
- Nicky Moore and The Blues Corporation
- Esther Phillips
- Raw Stylus
- Scarlet Runner
- Slash's Blues Ball
- Tenth Avenue North
- UGK on their 1992 album Too Hard to Swallow
- Walter "Wolfman" Washington
- Junior Wells
- Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s
- Jim White (for the 2005 Starbucks compilation album, Sweetheart 2005: Love Songs)
- Widespread Panic
- "Billboard Singles". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 633.
- The Best of Soul Train Live (booklet). Time Life. 2011.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972
- "RIAA searchable certification database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Withers, Bill. ""Use Me" Lyrics". Metro Lyrics. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1972
- "Kisses in the Rain overview". Allmusic.com.
- "Berks Jazz Fest 2007: Rick Braun & Friends". SmoothVibes.com.
- "Alicia Keys and Rob Thomas performing for VH1 Save The Music Concert". Dailymotion. Retrieved 2011-10-01.