Already a Songwriters Hall of Famer, Withers was given a tribute at this year’s 30th anniversary induction ceremony at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland by Stevie Wonder and John Legend. The Slab Fork, West Virginia native with his distinctive, butter soft vocal wails is behind timeless soul and pop classics like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Lean on Me,” “Use Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Just the Two of Us.”
The 5 Royales’ two-decade career from the mid-1940s to mid-60s combined gospel, blues, doo-wop and jazz. The Winston Salem, NC vocal ensemble originally recorded “Think,” later becoming a hit for James Brown and “Tell the Truth,” covered by both Ray Charles and Eric Clapton. Booker T. & the MGs guitarist, Steve Cropper, delivered the tribute to the 5 Royales.
Withers and The 5 Royales’ are joining a class of multigenerational rock acts including Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lou Reed, Green Day, Ringo Starr and the Paul Buttersfield Blues Band.
The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony premieres on Sat., May 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET on HBO. Check local listings for future airings.
This post was written by Christopher A. Daniel, pop cultural critic and music editor for the Burton Wire. He is also contributing writer for Urban Lux Magazine and Blues & Soul Magazine. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.