Chart Beat

‘Lean On Me’ Streams Gain 729% After Bill Withers’ Death

Bill Withers
Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

Bill Withers photographed in Germany in 1989.

Following the death of Bill Withers on March 30 — and its announcement publicly on April 3, streams and sales of his iconic catalog of songs gained in great numbers, according to initial reports to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Overall, his songs tallied 22.1 million on-demand streams (audio and video combined) in the U.S. on April 3-5 – up 780% as compared to 2.5 million on March 31-April 2.

Withers’ beloved tune “Lean On Me” was his most streamed track following his passing, with 4.1 million clicks (up 729% from 496,000). The 1972 single was written, produced and performed by Withers, and was his only No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (of 13 total entries). It topped the list for three weeks in 1972.

“Lean On Me” is one of a handful of songs to hit No. 1 by multiple artists. It was later revived by Club Nouveau in 1987, who topped the Hot 100 for two weeks with their cover of the track.

Withers’ second-most streamed song in the days after his death was “Lovely Day,” which was originally a No. 30 Hot 100 hit for Withers in 1978. “Lovely Day” generated 3.1 million streams (up 628% from 431,000).

Other reactive songs from his catalog include “Ain’t No Sunshine” (2.7 million; up 389% from 559,000), “Use Me” (1.5 million; up 842% from 156,000) and “Just the Two of Us” (with Grover Washington, Jr., 1.4 million; up 119% from 657,000).

Collectively, Withers’ overall songs sold 83,000 downloads in the U.S. (April 3-5), a gain of 7,159% compared to the 1,000 his tracks sold March 31-April 2.