Bill Withers

July 8, 1972: Bill Withers' 'Lean on Me' Tops Billboard

Jul 8, 2019

On July 8, 1972, Bill Withers’s song “Lean on Me” topped the Billboard charts for the first time. Rolling Stone magazine later ranked “Lean on Me” as the 205th greatest song of all time.

The Raleigh County native wrote the tune while thinking about the close community ties he experienced in Beckley and in the nearby mining camp of Slab Fork. It was in Beckley where Withers first honed his skills by singing gospel music.

Josh Saul

Since the show began almost two years ago, A Change of Tune has highlighted some of the best up-and-coming artists out of these West Virginia hills with podcast-y chats ranging from The Sea The Sea to Coyotes in BoxesQiet to Bud Carroll and beyond.

But those interviews have been a bit infrequent, and since West Virginia Day is coming up (not to mention A Change of Tune’s second birthday), we thought we’d do something special: 30 days, 30 brand new #WVmusic interviews that range from Morgantown alt-rockers and Parkersburg singer-songwriters to West Virginia music venues and regional artist management and beyond, all of which contribute to this state’s wild and wonderful music scene.

In light of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, this week on Inside Appalachia we remember the West Virginia water crisis from 2014. We’ll also hear from people in the coalfields who don’t have access to clean water, day in and day out. And we’ll honor the traditional “Appalachian” way of coming together to lean on each other.

Hard Cidery First to Open in W. Va.

Dec 17, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we’ll visit the state’s first cidery opening in Lewisburg where hard cider and mead are made with locally grown ingredients.  Also, West Virginia native and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Bill Withers visits with music academy students in Morgantown. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Music Legend Bill Withers Makes Virtual Stop at the Morgantown PopShop

Dec 16, 2015
Morgantown-based artist Jamie Lester graffitied the PopShop.
courtesy of Chris Russell

PopShop is a music academy in Morgantown where previous musical training is not a requirement and where there are no age limits for those who want to learn how to rock. Students at the school just had a Skype-date with a musical legend: West Virginia native and recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Bill Withers.

Bill Withers in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Dec 16, 2014
Bill Withers
wikimedia commons

West Virginia native Bill Withers has been selected for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Withers grew up in Raleigh County.  He will be inducted in the 2015 ceremony along with fellow performers Ringo Starr,  Lou Reed, Green Day among others.

He was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2007. 

Bill Withers
wikimedia commons

"Lean on Me" singer and West Virginia native Bill Withers is among the first-time nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Six of the 15 nominees for the hall's Class of 2015 are on the ballot for the first time. The new nominees were announced on Thursday.

Results of the voting will be announced in December, with the induction planned for next April in Cleveland.

Withers was born the youngest of six children in the small coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia and raised in nearby Beckley.