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Bill Withers Set This Grammy Record in 1988 -- And It Took More Than 25 Years to Break

All these years later, just four other songwriters have equaled Withers' achievement of winning best R&B song three times.

Bill Withers made history at the 30th annual Grammy Awards on March 2, 1988, becoming the first songwriter to win for best R&B song three times. He took the award that year for his 1972 classic "Lean on Me." (The song was eligible because of Club Nouveau's Hot 100-topping remake of the song; current rules wouldn't allow a previously prominent song to compete for a songwriting award.)

Withers had previously won best R&B song for writing his classic breakthrough hit "Ain't No Sunshine" (1971) and for co-writing (with Ralph MacDonald and William Salter) the silky 1981 smash "Just the Two of Us," a collab with Grover Washington Jr.

All these years later, just four other songwriters have equaled Withers' achievement of winning best R&B song three times. One songwriter, Beyoncé Knowles, has won it four times.

In honor of this great songwriter and artist, who died Monday at age 81, here's a look at the all-time top winners for best R&B song. The category originated in 1968, in the Grammys' 11th year. The years shown are the Grammy years.

Beyoncé: 4 awards. Beyoncé won for co-writing Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" (2000), a Jay-Z collab "Crazy in Love" (2003), Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (2009) and another Jay-Z collab "Drunk in Love" (2014).

Withers: 3 awards. Withers won for writing "Ain't No Sunshine" (1971), co-writing his Washington collab "Just the Two of Us" (1981) and writing Club Nouveau's "Lean on Me" (1987).

Stevie Wonder: 3 awards. Wonder won for writing "Superstition" (1973), "Living for the City" (1974) and "For Your Love" (1995). Wonder is the only songwriter to win three times for songs he wrote by himself or herself.

Babyface: 3 awards. Babyface won for co-writing Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" (1992) and for writing that quartet's "I'll Make Love to You" (1994) and Whitney Houston's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" (1996).

Alicia Keys: 3 awards. Keys won for writing "Fallin'" (2001) and co-writing "You Don't Know My Name" (2004) and "No One" (2007).

Two of Withers' Grammy-winners have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame: "Ain't No Sunshine" was voted in in 1999 and "Lean on Me" made the grade in 2007.

Harvey Mason Jr., chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy, issued a statement upon the announcement of Withers' death that read in part, "Bill's work has made a lasting impression on the music industry, with countless acclaimed artists performing renditions of his recordings, including Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand. His music will continue to influence the music community and be cherished by the world for years to come. Our hearts go out to his loved ones and all who were impacted by his incomparable work."

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