'Just The Two Of Us' Songwriter Found His Sound In Solitude William Salter, who co-wrote the popular love song, told his granddaughter that the radio kept him company during a lonely childhood. When he later found the bass, he said, "I found myself."
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'Just The Two Of Us' Songwriter Found His Sound In Solitude

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'Just The Two Of Us' Songwriter Found His Sound In Solitude

'Just The Two Of Us' Songwriter Found His Sound In Solitude

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. We're heading into Valentine's Day weekend, so we're going to hear from one of the writers of this iconic American love song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST THE TWO OF US")

BILL WITHERS: (Singing) I see the crystal raindrops fall. And the beauty of it all is when the sun comes shining through.

PFEIFFER: "Just The Two Of Us" was co-written by William Salter. He's an 84-year-old grandfather now. His granddaughter Jada used StoryCorps Connect to ask him how he found his sound.

JADA SALTER: As a kid, when I would come to your house, I would always hear you humming. Even when we're eating, you hum in between the bites. And that is a huge part of what I think of when I think of Grandpa, your sound.

WILLIAM SALTER: You know, my mother used to tell me children were to be seen and not heard. We had little or no conversation. She was a day worker. She would go out and clean people's houses. And so I was always by myself and lonely. But I had the radio (laughter) and songs that I could whistle or sing. So the radio and I embraced each other.

J SALTER: Grandpa, could you explain how you found your instrument?

W SALTER: Yeah, very simple - junior high school. When I got to the music class, all the instruments were taken. All that was left were three-string basses standing against the wall. It was either that, or I didn't anything. So I took what you get. But I had no complaints because prior to getting involved with music, I was just another kid on the block without knowing who I was. But when music and I became one, I found myself. I would walk down the street with the bass on my back, and people would just stand back. I walked like I was somebody special. And with that bass, I've been able to get as far as I've gotten.

J SALTER: I remember when I was about 8, you were playing the song "Just The Two Of Us." And you said that was your song that you wrote. When I heard the lyrics, I just imagined in my head Grandpa and I.

W SALTER: (Laughter). I used to babysit you a lot. It was very meaningful to have this very precious time to share with you in a way that I didn't have when I came up.

J SALTER: You know, you're very precious to me. And, sometimes, I get scared that once it's your time, I'm not going to have you. I was blessed enough to have you for these years. And, hopefully, I pray, I'll have you for a whole lot more. But I realize that song is an example of how you're still going to be there. You're always going to be there.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST THE TWO OF US")

WITHERS: (Singing) Just the two of us. We can make it if we try. Just the two of us.

PFEIFFER: You're listening to William Salter's song "Just The Two Of Us." He co-wrote it with Bill Withers and Ralph MacDonald. It was made famous by Grover Washington Jr. in 1981. Salter's StoryCorps conversation with his granddaughter Jada will be archived at the Library of Congress.

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