Entertainment & Arts

Rock Hall of Fame: Bill Withers may give rare performance

Bill Withers Image copyright AP
Image caption Withers stopped recording in the 1980s but songs like Ain't No Sunshine and Just The Two Of Us have become much-covered standards

Soul star Bill Withers may give a rare performance when he is inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year.

The musician, whose hits include Lean On Me and Lovely Day, has not released any new material since 1985 and makes very few public appearances.

But he told Rolling Stone magazine he would attend the Hall of Fame ceremony on 18 April 2015, joking: "I guess I'll have to go buy a suit."

Asked whether he would sing, he replied: "I don't know if I can".

"I'll find out between then and now," the 76-year-old added.

"There are some people that can sing in their later years and some of them that can't," he continued.

Image caption 'I never felt that I was entitled' - Bill Withers on his Rock Hall award

"I don't want to be one of those old guys that sounds like a gerbil trying to give birth to a hippopotamus.

"I've gotta see if I can't conjure it up."

Starr booking

Withers was announced as a nominee for the Hall of Fame in October, alongside The Smiths, Lou Reed, Sting, Green Day, NWA and Nine Inch Nails.

Withers' name was selected for induction following a vote by fellow artists, historians, music industry insiders and the public.

"It was kind of odd to get nominated," he told Rolling Stone. "I just never felt that anyone owed me this."

Other artists to be given a spot include I Love Rock 'n' Roll hitmaker Joan Jett, late guitar virtuoso Stephen Ray Vaughan and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Lou Reed and Green Day also earned places, but The Smiths, NWA and Sting all missed out - as did disco pioneers Chic and German electronic band Kraftwerk.

However, Ringo Starr will also receive a special award for musical excellence at the ceremony, making him the last Beatle to be inducted as a solo artist.

"Finally, the four of us are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even though we were the biggest pop group in the land," he said.

Artists are eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame 25 years after their first recording was released.

Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Joni Mitchell, Madonna, Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin and Elton John have all earned their places over the years.

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