Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson in the 1970's.
Nick Ashford, one-half of the singer-songwriter duo, “Ashford and Simpson,” has died of throat cancer. He was 69. Ashford and his wife of 37 years, Valerie Simpson, began their chart-topping songwriting career penning tunes for Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. In 1966, the pair joined the staff of the legendary Motown Records, writing what ultimately would be classics for Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell (“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) and Diana Ross (“Reach Out and Touch”), among others. From the 1960’s until 1997, Ashford and Simpson continued to write for a bevy of popular artists (Chaka Khan and Teddy Pendergrass to name a few) and recorded their own albums, both individually and as a couple. Their biggest selling single as a couple was “Solid” (1984), which is featured below. Also below is their tune for Chaka Khan, “I’m Every Woman” (1978), covered by a pregnant Whitney Houston in 1993. Simpson can be seen in the video. To read my tribute to other recording artists that we’ve recently lost, click Ashford’s picture above. On August 25th, I will post a tribute marking the 10th anniversary of the passing of R&B singer/actress Aaliyah, and on August 29th, the commemorative fan section, “Michael Jackson: 1958-Forever” will be re-opened. Stay tuned.
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