Stevie Wonder paid tribute to fellow soul legend Bill Withers with a cover of “Lean on Me” during Global Citizen’s One World: Together at Home special, which raised over $127 million for COVID-19 relief. Wonder also played a portion of his own “Love’s In Need of Love Today” during his at-home performance.
“During hardships like this, we have to lean on each other for help,” Wonder said before his performance. “My friend, the late Bill Withers, has the perfect song about that. And I want us to remember him tonight.”
Wonder inducted Withers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, where the two singers — along with John Legend — delivered “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me.” Although Withers died March 30th at the age of 81, the Rock Hall induction in 2015 marked his final live performance.
“May the greatness of Bill Withers live forever,” Wonder told Billboard following Withers’ death. “People will be listening to his songs and reading his lyrics like they do with great writers from ages ago, saying he was amazing. And yes, he was. We’ve got to show a lot of love to his wife and children and keep the legacy of what he left behind going ever strong. I think every artist at some point should record one of his songs on their projects. That’s how you keep it going. He deserves that.”
The Together at Home special also featured Paul McCartney (who performed the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna”), Kacey Musgraves, the Rolling Stones (“You Can’t Always Get You Want“), Taylor Swift (“Soon You’ll Get Better“), Kacey Musgraves (“Rainbow“), Eddie Vedder (“River Cross“), Lizzo (“A Change Is Gonna Come“) Billie Eilish (“Sunny“), Lady Gaga (“Smile“), Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Usher, Chris Martin, J Balvin, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Pharrell Williams, Billie Joe Armstrong, LL Cool J and many more.