Bill Withers – Harlem
Bill Withers was the last of six children born on July 4, 1938, in Slab Fork, West Virginia. He was the only man in his family who did not end up working in the coal mines of West Virginia. Instead, he enlisted in the US Navy and became interested in writing and singing songs while stationed in Guam. In 1967, after being discharged, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career. As a self-proclaimed untrained musician, he became known for his story-telling ability and most of his early recordings did not feature a traditional song structure. “Harlem” does not have a chorus; instead, each verse escalates in a crescendo as the song progresses. Withers uses this structure to build tension and compliment the story he’s telling in his lyrics.