When I spoke with songwriting legend Bill Withers, for the very first episode of Death, Sex & Money, we talked about what it is to be a man. Withers told me it might not be manly to say "I'm scared," but that being a man isn't about ignoring fear. It's about getting things done in spite of it, and knowing when to ask for help.
This week, in honor of his 80th birthday, and our ongoing conversation about manhood today, we decided to revisit the episode, which is still one of my favorites.
Before Withers wrote some of the most memorable hits of the 70s and 80s—songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Lean on Me”—he was a stuttering boy, growing up in a West Virginia mining town. We talked about leaving that small town, caring for his dying father, and what he likes to watch when he's choosing not to exercise in the morning.
Happy birthday, Mr. Withers.