The U.S.A. celebrates its 248th birthday today. But America’s birthday isn’t the only one we’re celebrating: beloved American singer/songwriter and musician Bill Withers was born 86 years ago today, on July 4, 1938. Withers passed away in April 2020, making this annual Independence Day celebration of his birthday bittersweet.

Before he retired from the music business in 1985, Withers’ music helped define the ’70s soul-funk sound. His extensive list of hit songs (like “Lean On Me”, “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Use Me”, “Just The Two Of Us”, “Grandma’s Hands”, “When I’m Kissing My Love”, “Who Is He and What Is He To You”, and more) remain popular to this day.

Related: Watch Oteil Burbrdige, Stephen Marley, Marcus King, And Many More Pay Tribute To Bill Withers [Video]

While many of his most popular songs deal with love and relationships, Withers also penned a number of powerful protest songs about the Vietnam War, race relations, and more. Perhaps the most jarring of these is “I Can’t Write Left-Handed”, in which Bill sings from the perspective of a soldier whose right arm was blown off in combat.

Bill Withers – “I Can’t Write Left-Handed” (Live at Carnegie Hall)

Withers earned three Grammy wins and seven nominations throughout his relatively short career. In 2015, Withers was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Withers is survived by his wife, Marcia, and his children, Todd and Kori.

As we remember Bill Withers on his birthday today, revisit a pair of incredible live performances from the early ’70s below:

Bill Withers – BBC In-Studio Concert – 1973 [Full Video]

[Video: Bruno]

Bill Withers – SOUL! – 12/29/71 [Full Video]

[Video: Piza 73]

Happy birthday, Bill. We miss you.