Crank it up! Steven Van Zandt, the Jersey icon and dual consiglieri to Bruce Springsteen and Tony Soprano, has used his clout at SiriusXM to convince the chief content officer Scott Greenstein to play the Bill Withers tune Lean on Me: on over 60 music SiriusXM channels Thursday at 7 PM ET. This is the equivalent of Brits banging pots nightly from their homes, as the song is meant as a gesture of support of first responders, nurses, doctors and others on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Van Zandt has been spending his downtime during the pandemic with his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and its national K-12 curriculum initiative, TeachRock.org, along with the student-run organization YOUnison as well as 50 supporting organizations will be honoring first responders and healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic tomorrow as part of the “Worldwide Day of Gratitude” initiative.
Van Zandt — who programs the Underground Garage channel on SiriusXM — wants teachers, students, and everyone to learn and share the iconic song via sheet music authorized by Hal Leonard Corporation, as well as special lesson plans developed by TeachRock.org, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and others. Participants are encouraged to download the materials and then share their unique versions on YouTube and social media channels using the hashtags #LeanOnUs and #DayOfGratitude.
“We are all finding ways to say thank you to our essential worker heroes who have worked right through this very scary time,” says Van Zandt. “We applaud them every night at 7:00. Now we’ll add a great song to say thank you.”
Withers, the revered singer who hits also included “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.” died April 3 at 81.