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Just The Two Of Us

by

Grover Washington Jr. with Bill Withers



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Grover Washington was a very respected Jazz saxophone player who died of a heart attack in 1999. Bill Withers is a songwriter and vocalist responsible for songs like "Lean On Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine." Withers sang lead on this, but it was credited to Washington and appeared on his album.
Withers was friends with Ralph McDonald, a writer and producer who wrote this with his partner Bill Salter. Says Withers, "I'm a little snobbish about words, so they sent me this song and said 'We want to do this with Grover, would you consider singing it?' I said, 'Yeah, if you'll let me go in and try to dress these words up a little bit.' Everybody that knows me is kind of used to me that way. I probably threw in the stuff like the crystal raindrops. The 'Just The Two Of Us' thing was already written. It was trying to put a tuxedo on it. I didn't like what was said leading up to 'Just The Two Of Us.'"
When Withers went in to record his vocals, it was the first time he met Washington. They were rarely together when they recorded this, and they never got to know each other very well. Withers admired Washington because Grover did the first cover version of any song he'd written - an instrumental version of "Ain't No Sunshine" that appeared on his first album. Since then, hundreds of artists have covered Withers' songs. (Read our interview with Bill Withers.)
Will Smith did a rap version in 1998, turning it into a song about a father and son. This version was the basis for the "Dr. Evil Mix" in the movie Austin Powers 2, where Dr. Evil sings it to Mini Me.
More Grover Washington Jr. with Bill Withers songs
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Comments (8):

On February 8th 1981, "Just The Two of Us" by Grover Washington, Jr. (with Bill Withers) entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at #83; and on April 26th it peaked at #2 (for 3 weeks) and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 (24 weeks, and for 11 of those 24 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
It reached #3 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
The song won the Grammy Award in 1982 for 'Best R&B Song'...
The first two weeks it was at #2 on the Top 100 the #1 record was "Morning Train (Nine To Five)" by Sheena Easton and during its third week at #2 it was "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes that was at the top spot...
R.I.P. Mr. Washington (1943 - 1999) and Mr. Withers will celebrate his 76th birthday in five months on July 4th (2014).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
To Steve...
Sorry, you were talking about steel drums and not drums.
- Laurent, Manama, Bahrain
To Steve, Ottawa

If you are talking about the studio version, the drummer is very likely to be the legendary Steve Gadd. Gadd is one of the most highly regarded and influencial drummer in history. He's the one playing, amongst many other tracks, on Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" or Barbra Steisand's "Woman In Love". Gadd has played with everyone...Frank Sinatra, George Benson, Chick Corea, Marc Cohn, James Taylor, Eric Clapton...
- Laurent, Manama, Bahrain
A great collaboration between too great musicians!
- Tanya, La Verne, CA
This song was written to promote "The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago" the home of the only musical invention on the 20th century - The Steel Pan that you hear in the background. It was very popular in the home of my birth in the 80's when evrything was going well.
- Sylvia Callender-Car, Atlanta, GA
I thought it was Othello Molineaux playing steel pans, but that's Robert Greenidge. If you'd like to hear some great playing of steel pans, Check out "Opus Pocus" (by Jaco Pastorius, on Jaco Pastorius), and also "The Chicken" by Jaco Pastorius (well, actually, it's a PeeWee Ellis tune), on Jaco's "Invitation" album. I'd recommend "The Chicken" more than anything... Othello blew my mind with the solo in that.
- Chris, El Monte, CA
The extended version of this song has a killer steel drum solo in it..it's so perfect! one of my favourite popular music solos ever .. shame they cut it from the radio edit. Does anyone know who was the performer?
- Steve, Ottawa, Canada
Great piano and saxophone. I love this song.
- Jo-C, Lima, Peru
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