Bill Withers - Ain’t no Sunshine - 1971

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Bill Withers - Ain’t no Sunshine - 1971


Ain't No Sunshine is a soulful song by Bill Withers, released in 1971. This track quickly became a hit, showcasing Withers' smooth vocal style and poignant lyrics. It's a song that has stood the test of time, covered by numerous artists, and remains a staple in the soul genre.


Bill Withers, an American soul singer and songwriter, released "Ain't No Sunshine" as part of his debut album, "Just As I Am," in 1971. The song was produced by Booker T. Jones and featured Stephen Stills on guitar. It was recorded during a session that had a significant influence on the soul music genre.

  1. Bill Withers: Learn about the artist's life and career.
  2. Soul Music: Explore the roots and development of this genre.
  3. Booker T. Jones: Discover more about the producer of this iconic song.
  4. Stephen Stills: Delve into the career of the guitarist featured in this song.

Composition and Lyrics

The composition of "Ain't No Sunshine" is marked by its simplicity and emotional depth. The song is known for its repeated line "I know" which Withers initially intended to replace but kept at the suggestion of the other musicians. The lyrics speak of loss and the emptiness that follows, resonating with many listeners due to its universal theme of heartbreak.

  1. Songwriting: Explore the process and elements of writing a song.
  2. Music Theory: Understand the musical structure behind the song.
  3. Lyrics: Learn about the importance of lyrics in conveying emotions and messages in music.

Impact and Legacy

"Ain't No Sunshine" won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and has been covered by a diverse range of artists. Its influence extends beyond the soul genre, impacting pop, rock, and R&B. The song's enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless appeal and Withers' talent as a songwriter.

  1. Grammy Awards: Discover the significance of this award in the music industry.
  2. Music Cover Versions: Learn about the impact and legality of covering songs.
  3. Music Industry: Explore how songs like this influence and shape the music industry.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Ain't No Sunshine" released? (1971) (!1969) (!1973) (!1980)

Which instrument is prominently featured in "Ain't No Sunshine"? (Guitar) (!Piano) (!Saxophone) (!Drums)

Who produced "Ain't No Sunshine"? (Booker T. Jones) (!Quincy Jones) (!Berry Gordy) (!George Martin)

What is a unique feature of the song's composition? (Repeated line "I know") (!A long guitar solo) (!No chorus) (!Spoken word sections)

Which album includes "Ain't No Sunshine"? (Just As I Am) (!Still Bill) (!Menagerie) (!+'Justments)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Before becoming a musician, what was Bill Withers' profession? (Aircraft mechanic) (!Teacher) (!Banker) (!Chef)

Which of these songs is also by Bill Withers? ("Lean on Me") (!"What's Going On") (!"Superstition") (!"Respect")

In which branch of the military did Bill Withers serve? (United States Navy) (!United States Army) (!United States Air Force) (!United States Marine Corps)

What is a notable aspect of Bill Withers' approach to the music industry? (He maintained control over his music) (!He changed labels frequently) (!He exclusively performed live) (!He used pseudonyms)

Which award did Bill Withers win for "Ain't No Sunshine"? (Grammy Award for Best R&B Song) (!MTV Music Award) (!Billboard Music Award) (!American Music Award)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is the central theme of "Ain't No Sunshine"? (Loss and heartbreak) (!Happiness and love) (!Social justice) (!Self-discovery)

Which line is repeated 26 times in the song? ("I know") (!"Ain't no sunshine") (!"When she's gone") (!"And she's always gone")

How does the song begin? ("Ain't no sunshine when she's gone") (!"It's not warm when she's away") (!"I know, I know, I know") (!"Wonder this time where she's gone")

What does the absence of sunshine metaphorically represent in the song? (The feeling of emptiness) (!The coming of night) (!The changing seasons) (!A ray of hope)

Which phrase immediately follows "ain't no sunshine when she's gone"? ("It's not warm when she's away") (!"Only darkness every day") (!"And she's always gone too long") (!"I know, I know, I know")


Bill Withers "Ain't No Sunshine"
1971 Year of Release
Booker T. Jones Producer
"I know" Repeated Line
Just As I Am Album

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Create a playlist of songs from the 1970s that share a similar vibe to "Ain't No Sunshine".
  2. Lyric Analysis: Write a short essay on what the lyrics of "Ain't No Sunshine" mean to you.
  3. Music Genre Exploration: Explore and list other soul artists from the 1970s.


  1. Song Cover Challenge: Record your own cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" and share it.
  2. Music History Research: Research the influence of soul music in the 1970s and its impact on other music genres.
  3. Artist Comparison: Compare and contrast Bill Withers' music style with another artist from the same era.


  1. Songwriting Exercise: Write your own song inspired by "Ain't No Sunshine", focusing on themes of love and loss.
  2. Musical Analysis: Analyze the musical structure of "Ain't No Sunshine" and discuss its composition techniques.
  3. Video Documentary: Create a short documentary about the legacy of "Ain't No Sunshine".

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Oral Exam

  1. Musical Influence: Discuss how "Ain't No Sunshine" influenced modern music and provide examples.
  2. Lyric Interpretation: Interpret the lyrics of "Ain't No Sunshine" in the context of the social and cultural environment of the early 1970s.
  3. Artist's Career Path: Explore the unique aspects of Bill Withers' career path and how it shaped his music.
  4. Song's Impact: Analyze the lasting impact of "Ain't No Sunshine" on the soul genre and music industry.
  5. Comparative Analysis: Compare "Ain't No Sunshine" to another Bill Withers song in terms of lyrical content and musical style.

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