Use Me (Bill Withers song)

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"Use Me"
Side-A label by Sussex Records
Side A of the US single
Single by Bill Withers
from the album Still Bill
B-side"Let Me in Your Life"
ReleasedAugust 1972
GenreSoul, funk
LabelSussex Records
Songwriter(s)Bill Withers
Bill Withers singles chronology
"Lean on Me"
"Use Me"
"Let Us Love"
Official audio
"Use Me" on YouTube

"Use Me" is a song, composed and originally recorded by Bill Withers. It was included on his 1972 album Still Bill and was released as a single. An eight-minute live version opens the 1973 album "Live at Carnegie Hall."

Structure and content[edit]

The song is noted for its repeated bass figure which is heard alongside a complex rhythm in the percussion.[citation needed]

Withers has said the song relates to feedback he received from women that he was "too nice", and his intent to change that:

That's fun stuff. That's just talkin' trash. That’s just a song about being a little playful, a little arrogant and a little cool. Unless you were one of those people that were born popular, I was a chronic stutterer until I was twenty-eight. I avoided the phone. So I wasn't this popular guy. I remember being young and I would have girls tell me, "You’re too nice." I didn't understand that.

What kind of twisted world are we in? Women like bad boys, I guess. There is no more confusing form of rejection than for somebody to tell you that you’re not interesting to them because you’re too nice.

So over the course of time, you say okay, you wanna play, okay, let's play? Use Me taps into that. I tried to be nice, now let's get nasty. That song came quick. I was working in McDonnell Douglas out in Long Beach and the noise of the factory, they had some women working there. I crossed that line there thinking, “You all want a nasty boy? Well here I come.” [laughs].[1]


It was Withers second-biggest hit in the United States, released in September 1972 and later reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2] It was kept from No. 1 by both "Ben" by Michael Jackson and "My Ding-a-Ling" by Chuck Berry.[3] "Use Me" also peaked at No. 2 on the soul chart for two weeks.[4] Withers performed it on Soul Train on November 4, 1972.[5] Billboard ranked "Use Me" as the No. 78 song for 1972.[6] The song was certified Gold by the RIAA.[7]

Music critic Robert Christgau called "Use Me" "one of the few knowledgeable songs about sex our supposedly sexy music has ever produced", featuring a "cross-class attraction" in its narrative.[8]



Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 14
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 2
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 5
Canada RPM Hot Singles 33

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1972) Rank
US Cash Box[9] 100

Other recordings[edit]

A variety of artists have covered the song, including:


  1. ^ Sharp, Ken (April 3, 2020). "Bill Withers on 'Ain't No Sunshine', 'Grandma's Hands', 'Use Me', & His Legacy (Archival Interview)".
  2. ^ "Billboard Singles". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
  3. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 633.
  5. ^ The Best of Soul Train Live (booklet). Time Life. 2011.
  6. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972
  7. ^ "RIAA searchable certification database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Bill Withers". Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  9. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1972". Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "Kisses in the Rain overview".
  11. ^ "Berks Jazz Fest 2007: Rick Braun & Friends".
  12. ^ Use Me on YouTube
  13. ^ "Alicia Keys and Rob Thomas performing for VH1 Save The Music Concert". Dailymotion. 5 June 2007. Retrieved 2011-10-01.