Stevie Wonder and John Legend looked a little older but sounded a little wiser at the Music Hall of Fame event at Cleveland’s historic Public Hall on April 18. These iconic singers/songwriters paid homage to Bill Withers, laying down his name in the musical history books by adding him to the Music Hall of Fame archives.
The Music Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization that collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets musical genius through its library, archives, and educational programs.
At the Hall of Fame museum, visitors can take away the moments that make up a dull day by exploring rare archives and installations like this one, featuring The Wall album by Pink Floyd.
Getting back to this year’s event, Stevie Wonder and John Legend both expressed a deep respect and love for Bill Withers, whose hits include “Grandmas Hands,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” and “Lovely Day.”
Bill’s songs have been recorded by hundreds of artists, including Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Sting, Crystal Gale, Nancy Wilson, Diana Ross, and Luther Vandross, to name a few.
“This is not about me. This is about a great man who has written some incredibly great songs,” Stevie Wonder said, as he prepared to induct Withers. “Not only did he write them, but sang them incredibly as well.”
The charismatic Bill Withers held the crowd, cracking jokes about Yoko Ono’s hat, teasing Stevie Wonder, and generally being charming.
“Check this out,” Withers said. “Stevie Wonder knows my name and the brother just put me in the Hall of Fame.”
Bill Withers then sat next to Stevie Wonder, who performed a fantastic version of Ain’t No Sunshine on a harpejji tapping instrument. They had to restart the set at one point as Stevie Wonder admits to being in the wrong key because he did not look at the music. Bill Withers did not sing but did help usher Stevie Wonder to his next position on stage.
Stevie Wonder then backed up R&B star John Legend for a flawless vocal of “Use Me.” Legend then headed over to the piano for a performance of “Lean on Me.”
After the show, Stevie Wonder and John Legend chatted with media after performing a tribute to inductee Bill Withers.
All in all, another incredible night at the Music Hall of Fame and another stunning line up of inductees who are raised to legendary status and entered into the history books that will educate future generations.
[Image Credit/Getty Images]