Thursday, August 25, 2011


Nickolas Ashford, one half of the husband-wife singer/songwriter/producer duo, Ashford & Simpson, died in New York this past Monday (August 22) of complications from throat cancer.

Nick's publicist Liz Rosenberg said that he had been undergoing radiation treatment to treat the cancer. He is survived by his wife Valerie Simpson and his two daughters, Nicole and Asia.

The couple rose to prominence as Motown's go-to hit songwriters in the mid-60s. The duo is most known for penning all but one of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell hit songs (Ain't No Mountain High Enough; Your Precious Love; Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing and You're All I Need to Get By).

 The couple eventually left Motown for Warner Bros. Records and married in 1974. At Warner Bros., the couple enjoyed several hit singles as a duo act (Don't Cost You Nothin', It Seems To Hang On, Is It Still Good to Ya, Found a Cure, Street Corner), with their biggest hit single being the 1984's Solid (Solid As A Rock). 

Check out Ashford & Simpson song writing credits for some of your favorite hits plus more, after the break!
Ashford & Simpson Songwriting/Producing Credits
Ashford along with Frank Wilson: I'm Gonna Make You Love Me, which was recorded by Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations 
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Ain't No Mountain High Enough; Your Precious Love; Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing and You're All I Need to Get By
Diana Ross: Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)Surrender (Remember Me) and The Boss
Chaka Khan: I'm Every Woman; Clouds 
Given writing credit on Amy Winehouse's 2007 CD Back to Black for the single Tears Dry On Their Own. The track is based on a sample of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1967 Motown classic hit Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Teddy Pendergrass: Is It Still Good to You 
Aretha Franklin: Cry Like A Baby
Ray Charles: Let's Go Get Stoned; I Don't Need No Doctor 
Chaka Khan & Rufus: Keep It Comin' and Ain't Nothin' But a Maybe
Gladys Knight &The Pips: Didn't You Know; You'd Have to Cry Sometime; The Landlord; Bourgie, Bourgie; Taste of Bitter Love
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: Who's Gonna Take the Blame
The Marvelettes Destination: Anywhere
The Supremes Some Things: You Never Get Used To
The Dynamic Superiors: Shoe, Shoe Shine
The Brothers Johnson: Ride-O-Rocket

Now that what you call makin' it rain

Ashford also played tambourine and percussion on Marvin Gaye's hit single, What's Goin' On.

In recent years, the couple recorded and toured sporadically and even opened a restaurant called Sugar Bar in 1996 in New York City. The restaurant featured live entertainment with an open mic night on Thursdays. Queen Latifah once famously performed at the restaurant. 

On August 16, 2006, Playbill Online reported that they were writing the score for a musical based on E. Lynn Harris's novel Invisible Life.

I remember watching one of my all-time favorite movies, New Jack City back in the day, and I had no clue that the man who played Reverend Oates was the legendary Ashford of Ashford & Simpson.

Ashford left such a musical legacy that decades from now his music will still be enjoyed by millions while his estate continues to get dat guap!  Rest in peace Ashford!

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