G.O.A.T.: Ain’t No Sunshine-Bill Withers (1972)

THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a salute to the greatest songs of all time, one song per artist. Want more? Go to the G.O.A.T. Page for all the GOATs so far!

ain't no sunshineSometimes the measure of a song is how well it can be covered.  And the blues through line on Bill Withers’ first hit (bassline by the great Donald Duck Dunn) is iconic.  No matter who covers this song, the line stands out.  The song has a refrain, repeating the words, “I know” over and over and over.  As the legend goes, this was just Withers vamping in the studio, trying to work out the lyrics, but it worked so well he decided to keep it.

And the recent soundtrack to the movie “Take Me to the River” proves how timeless this song is. Bobby Blue Bland, sounding as full of soul as ever, team up with Yo Gotti for a live remix of the classic (video below). Bland revived the song in the 1980s for a modern audience, so it’s fitting he’s trying to do it again.

Further listening: The afore-mentioned Bland/Gotti version is at the bottom, but I’m starting with Little Hurricane’s version. Their covers EP, “Stay Classy,” is phenomenal. You need to go download the whole thing (free on Bandcamp) right now. Seriously. Their version of Pink Floyd’s Money is the best cover of that tune I’ve ever heard.

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