According to the legendary Bill Withers, who passed away at the age of 81 on April 3, the song “Ain’t No Sunshine” is about missing something that isn’t particularly good for you. Withers was inspired to write the hit after watching the 1962 movie “Days of Wine and Roses,” in which both main characters struggled with alcoholism.
When he wrote the song, Withers was 31 years old and working at a factory that made bathrooms for Boeing 747s. When the song went Gold, the record company presented Withers with a golden toilet seat to mark the start of his new career.
In the song’s famous bridge, “I know” is repeated 26 times and was originally intended to be a third verse, but Withers followed the advice of his fellow musicians to leave it saying, “I was this factory worker puttering around, so when they said to leave it like that, I left it.”
“Ain’t No Sunshine” has since been covered by Michael Jackson and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, among many others, and remixed countless times.
RIP, Bill Withers.