Bill Withers’ original version of “Ain’t No Sunshine” was amazing: as deep as the deepest Southern soul, it’s over in a mere 2:03, and Withers’ record company, Sussex, somehow managed to stick it on a B-side. It didn’t stay there, of course. As for Bill himself, he wound up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 2015 with Stevie Wonder (!) speaking at the induction.
Better yet, despite, or perhaps because of, its skeletal structure, musicians will always want to try their hands at “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The results are often golden. Here are two covers I particularly admire: the MonaLisa Twins, then all of thirteen years old, with a dark jazz flavor, and a purely acoustic take from Hanson. Yes, that Hanson.
I know, I know.