Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: WinelightReleased: 1980Charted:
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.