«Ain’t No Sunshine» is a song by Bill Withers from his 1971 album Just as I Am, produced by Booker T. Jones. The record featured musiciansDonald «Duck» Dunn on bass guitar and Al Jackson, Jr. on drums, as well as Withers on lead vocals and guitar. String arrangements were done byBooker T. Jones, and recorded in Memphis by Engineer Terry Manning. The song was released as a single in September 1971.

Withers was inspired to write this song after watching the 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses. He explained, in reference to the characters played by Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon, «They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It’s like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren’t particularly good for you. It’s just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I’m not aware of.»

For the song’s third verse, Withers had intended to write more lyrics instead of repeating the phrase «I know» over and over again, but then followed the advice of the other musicians to leave it that way: «I was this factory worker puttering around,» Withers said. «So when they said to leave it like that, I left it.»(Withers, then thirty-one years old, was working at a factory making toilet seats for 747s at the time.)

Advertisements