♫ Lean On Me ♫ (Redux)

I have played this one twice in the past, but tonight Dan Rather’s nightly email convinced me to … play it again, Sam!  Er, Bill!  Dan said …

From the opening notes, the song resonates with the soul. In the simplicity of its chords lies its power. In its lyrics lies a beautiful vision for our common humanity. 

“Lean on Me,” from the legendary Bill Withers, always packs an emotional punch. In a time of division, when we see so much selfishness and cruelty, we felt this would be a timely antidote to those who elevate hurt over help. 

We believe it provides another reason to smile, although we cannot promise your eyes will remain dry.  

We share two versions below. We also share the lyrics, because they are worth reading. They fill us with hope.

My favourite is the second one, the one with Stevie Wonder and John Legend along with Bill Withers, but the concert version with a much younger Bill Withers touches the soul as well.  Pick one, or better yet, listen to both … set aside the troubles of the day, and just let the music wash over you for a few minutes.


This song, written and recorded by singer-songwriter Bill Withers, was released in April 1972 as the first single from his second album, Still Bill.  It was his first and only number one single.  According to Withers …

“This was my second album, so I could afford to buy myself a little Wurlitzer electric piano. So I bought a little piano and I was sitting there just running my fingers up and down the piano. In the course of doing the music, that phrase crossed my mind, so then you go back and say, ‘OK, I like the way that phrase, Lean On Me, sounds with this song.’ So you go back and say, ‘How do I arrive at this as a conclusion to a statement? What would I say that would cause me to say Lean On Me?’ At that point, it’s between you and your actual feelings, you and your morals and what you’re really like. You probably do more thinking about it after it’s done.”

Withers did not record his first song until he was 32 years old. He was in the US Navy for nine years, then worked at a factory making parts for airplanes. Says Withers:

“Being from a rural, West Virginia setting, that kind of circumstance would be more accessible to me than it would be to a guy living in New York where people step over you if you’re passed out on the sidewalk, or Los Angeles, where you could die on the side of the freeway and it would probably be eight days before anyone noticed you were dead. Coming from a place where people were a little more attentive to each other, less afraid, that would cue me to have those considerations. I think what we say is influenced by how we are, what’s been our life experiences. Now, I notice young guys writing about shooting each other in the city and stuff like that, well I would never have said anything like that because it was not my experience, I’m not from a big city. I think circumstance dictates what people think.”

Lean On Me
Bill Withers

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load

If you just call me (call me)
If you need a friend (call me) call me uh huh(call me) if you need a friend (call me)
If you ever need a friend (call me)
Call me (call me) call me (call me) call me
(Call me) call me (call me) if you need a friend
(Call me) call me (call me) call me (call me) call me (call me) call me (call me)

Songwriters: Bill Withers
Lean On Me lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

20 thoughts on “♫ Lean On Me ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: ♫ Lean On Me ♫ (Redux) — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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