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Friday, August 24, 2012

R.I.P. Nick Ashford


Nickolas Ashford (May 4, 1942 – August 22, 2011), and Valerie Simpson (born August 26, 1946), were a husband and wife songwriting/production team and recording artists, formally known as Ashford & Simpson. Ashford was born in Fairfield, SC and Simpson in Bronx, NY. They met at Harlem's White Rock Baptist Church in 1963. After having recorded unsuccessfully as a duo, they joined aspiring solo artist and former member of the Ikettes, Joshie Jo Armstead, at the Scepter/Wand label where their compositions were recorded by Ronnie Milsap, Maxine Brown, the Shirelles, and Chuck Jackson. Another of the duo's songs, "Let's Go Get Stoned", gave Ray Charles a number one U.S. R&B hit in 1966. During that same year, they joined Motown, where they penned their best-known songs included "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need To Get By", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)". They wrote many other hit songs including Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" (1978) and Teddy Pendergrass's "Is It Still Good to You?", which they later recorded for one of their own albums. As performers, their best-known duets are "Solid (As a Rock)" (1984 US and 1985 UK), and "Found a Cure" (1979). The duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

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