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

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William Salter helped write one of America"s most iconic love songs.

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He collaborated with Bill Withers and Ralph MacDonald on "Just the Two of Us," performed by Grover Washington Jr. on his album Winelight in 1980.

Salter, now 84, spoke with his 25-year-old granddaughter Jadomain authority Salter for a remote StoryCorps conversation about how he first found his sound.

Jadomain authority remembered her grandfather always humming a tune on her childhood visits lớn his home page in New Rochelle, N.Y.

"Even when we"re eating, you hum in between the bites," she said. "And that is a huge part of what I think of, when I think of Grandpa — your sound."

As a kid, William grew up in a quiet trang chủ environment. But he said radio music became somewhat of a coping mechanism for his solitude.

"My mother used to tell me, "Children were to lớn be seen and not heard." We had little or no conversation," he said. "She was a day worker. She would go out & clean people"s houses. And so I was always by myself — & lonely.


"But I had the radio, & songs that I could whistle or sing. So the radio and I embraced each other."



William Salter, right, his granddaughter Jadomain authority, front, & his son — and Jada"s father — Jamal.

Courtesy of Jadomain authority Salter

Jadomain authority asked her grandpa how the bass became his instrument of choice.

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As William recalled, it wasn"t much of a choice: When he was in junior high school music class, all the other instruments were taken.

"All that was left were three string basses standing against the wall. It was either that or I didn"t vày anything. So I took what you get," he said. "But I had no complaints."

When he found music through the bass, he said, "I found myself."

"Prior lớn getting involved with music, I was just another kid on the block, without knowing who I was," he said. But with the large instrument in tow, William recalled, "I walked lượt thích I was somebody toàn thân special."



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"I would walk down the street with the bass on my baông chồng & people would just stand bachồng," he said. "And with that bass, I"ve sầu been able to get as far as I"ve sầu gotten."

Jadomain authority recalled hearing her grandpa play "Just the Two of Us" for the first time when she was around 8 years old.

"When I heard the lyrics, I just imagined in my head — Grandpa và I," she said.

William said he spent a lot of time babysitting Jadomain authority when she was younger.


"It was very meaningful to lớn have this very precious time to lớn tóm tắt with you in a way that I didn"t have when I came up," he told her.

"I was blessed enough lớn have sầu you for these years," Jada said. "And hopefully, I pray, I"ll have sầu you for a whole lot more. But I realize that tuy nhiên is an example of how you"re still gonna be there — you"re always gonmãng cầu be there."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Abe Selby. baixarsopagode.org"s Emma Bowman adapted it for the Web.

StoryCorps is a national nobaixarsopagode.orgofit that gives people the chance lớn interview friends & loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to lớn leave sầu a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to lớn interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.


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