An excerpt from an interview with Mr. Bill Withers.

SF: You mentioned you’re a lyrics snob, when I thought you were exactly the opposite when listening to some of your songs. You have a way of making your lyrics so simple yet understandable.

Mr. Withers: That’s why I’m a snob about it, it’s very difficult to make things simple and understandable. You ever sit down and have a conversation with somebody who took their formal education too seriously.

SF: Yes

Mr. Withers: And they’re speaking and throwing in a bunch of words that you don’t have a ready meaning for? You’re sitting there nodding because you don’t want them to think you’re stupid, but what you really think is, there’s a lot of easier ways to say it, and you wonder if they even know what the hell they’re talking about or if they’re just showing off. So to me, the biggest challenge in the world is to take anything that’s complicated and make it simple so it can be understood by the masses. Somebody said a long time ago that the world was designed by geniuses, but it’s run by idiots. When I say I’m a snob lyrically, I mean I’m a snob in the sense that I’m a stickler for saying something the simplest possible way with some elements of poetry. Because simple is memorable. If something’s too complicated, you’re not going to walk around humming it to yourself because it’s too hard to remember.

SF: It’s relatable too, and it’s refreshing to hear someone say what they mean.

Mr. Withers: Yes, and the key is to make somebody not only remember it, but recall it over and over and over again. When you mention that some stuff I have written has lasted a long time, I think that’s because it’s re-accessible. Is that a word, re-accessible?

Simple is memorable. Nuff said!


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