Credit: Andrew ZukermanAn eclectic cast of music stars will salute pop/soul singer Bill Withers tonight at a special benefit concert at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall. The show, dubbed “Lean on Him: A Tribute to Bill Withers,” will include performances by Michael McDonald, Dr. John, Branford Marsalis, Ed Sheeran, Aloe Blacc, Withers’ daughter Kori and more.

The concert will offer an interesting twist, as the various artists will perform Bill’s 1973 album Live at Carnegie Hall album in its entirety. The album, recorded at the venue in October of 1972, features 14 songs, including renditions of Withers classics like “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Use Me.”

Withers — who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year — will attend the concert, but the 77-year-old singer/songwriter says he has no attention of performing.

“I’m gonna play right after Muhammad Ali boxes,” Withers, who retired from the music business in the 1980s, joked to The Village Voice recently. “We’re gonna do a double bill.”

As for how he feels about the tribute, Withers said, “It’s flattering, you know, that the people that are gonna come out saw fit to do that. It’s a huge compliment. When you get old, people start doing stuff, you know, in lieu of having your funeral. They have, like, pre-funeral stuff. This is like a premature obituary.”

Sheeran and Withers appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Wednesday night to promote the concert. Sheeran explained why Withers’ music appeals to him: “There are certain kind of artists that you just don’t remember the first time you heard them. It was just embedded in your childhood. And Bill was one of these artists.”

Sheeran later performed “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Stuttering Association for the Young, an organization close to Withers’ heart. He’s stuttered since childhood and has been active with the organization for almost a decade.

The concert is the latest in a series of all-star tribute events organized by New York City entrepreneur Michael Dorf, owner of the City Winery. You can check out more details about the concert at

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