Stevie Wonder was planning to hit the studio with late soul legend Bill Withers before his passing.
The “Isn’t She Lovely” singer had been in constant contact with the “Ain’t No Sunshine” hitmaker right up until his death from heart complications at age 81 last week and has revealed the pair were planning to play music together.
Wonder — who helped induct the music icon into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 — told Billboard: “We’d been texting each other.
“He texted me in January telling me how much he appreciated me being there for him.
“Then in February, he texted again talking about playing together.
“And I responded that it would be my pleasure, my joy.
“Just let me know and I’ll be there. That’s the last message I got from him.”
The 69-year-old star has called on his fellow musicians to record an interpretation of one of Withers’ many hits — which also include “Lean On Me” and “Lovely Day” — to keep his legacy “ever strong,” while he sent his condolences to Withers’ widow Marcia and their family.
He added: “May the greatness of Bill Withers live forever.
“People will be listening to his songs and reading his lyrics like they do with great writers from ages ago, saying he was amazing. And yes, he was.
“We’ve got to show a lot of love to his wife and children and keep the legacy of what he left behind going ever strong.
“I think every artist, at some point, should record one of his songs on their projects. That’s how you keep it going. He deserves that.”
Withers — who won three Grammy Awards throughout his illustrious career — stopped making music in the 1980s.
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