About the song

Ah, Just the Two of Us, a song that evokes a warm nostalgia for a simpler time. Released in 1981 by the legendary saxophonist Grover Washington Jr., featuring the soulful vocals of Bill Withers, this track transcended genres to become a timeless classic. But to truly appreciate its enduring impact, we need to delve a little deeper.

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Grover Washington Jr. was already a force to be reckoned with by 1981. Having emerged in the 1970s as a pioneer of smooth jazz, he seamlessly blended elements of soul, funk, and R&B into his music. His virtuosity on the saxophone was undeniable, his solos imbued with a smooth, lyrical quality that resonated with a wide audience. Bill Withers, on the other hand, was a singer-songwriter who brought a raw honesty and emotional depth to his work. Tracks like “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” showcased his powerful voice and his ability to connect with listeners on a deeply personal level.

Just the Two of Us wasn’t initially conceived as the song we know today. The melody was originally an instrumental track written by Ralph MacDonald and William Salter. Recognizing its potential, MacDonald reached out to Bill Withers, who penned the now-iconic lyrics. Withers’ words paint a picture of a blossoming romance, a love story built on simple pleasures and shared moments. Lines like “Building castles in the air / Sharing secrets in the night” and “Just the two of us / We can make it if we try” capture the innocent optimism and unbridled joy of young love.

The magic truly unfolds when Washington Jr.’s saxophone joins the fray. His smooth, fluid solo perfectly complements Withers’ soulful vocals. It’s a conversation, a back-and-forth between melody and emotion that tugs at the heartstrings. The rhythm section, understated yet groovy, provides the perfect foundation for this musical tapestry.

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Just the Two of Us wasn’t just a critical darling, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1981. It also resonated with couples young and old, becoming a popular wedding song and a mainstay on slow-dance playlists. The song’s enduring appeal lies in its simplicity. It speaks to a universal yearning for connection, for finding solace and joy in the company of another.

The legacy of Just the Two of Us extends far beyond its chart success. It cemented Grover Washington Jr.’s status as a smooth jazz icon and solidified Bill Withers’ reputation as a master storyteller. But most importantly, it gifted us a song that continues to soundtrack the tender moments of our lives, a reminder that sometimes, all we need is the one we love by our side.

Video

Lyrics

I see the crystal raindrops fall and the beauty of it all
Is when the sun comes shining through
To make those rainbows in my mind
When I think of you some time and I want to spend some time with you

Just the two of us, we can make it if we try
Just the two of us (Just the two of us)
Just the two of us building castles in the sky
Just the two of us, you and I

We look for love, no time for tears
Wasted water’s all that is and it don’t make no flowers grow
Good things might come to those who wait
Not to those who wait too late, we got to go for all we know

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Just the two of us, we can make it if we try
Just the two of us (Just the two of us)
Just the two of us building them castles in the sky
Just the two of us, you and I

I hear the crystal raindrops fall on the window down the hall
And it becomes the morning dew
And darling, when the morning comes
And I see the morning sun I want to be the one with you

Just the two of us, we can make it if we try
Just the two of us (Just the two of us)
Just the two of us building big castles way on high
Just the two of us, you and I

Just the two of us, just the two of us, we can make it, just the two of us
Just the two of us, just the two of us, we can make it, just the two of us
Just the two of us, we can make it, just the two of us
Just the two of us, we can make it, just the two of us

Just the two of us, we can make it, just the two of us
Just the two of us, we can make it, just the two of us