Nick Ashford of legendary duo Ashford & Simpson dies at 69
Nick Ashford (Nickolas Ashford), famous songwriter of Motown, died on Monday, August 22, in a New York hospital.
Ashford has been suffering from throat cancer for years and was undergoing radiation therapy. His wife, Valerie Simpson and their daughters were with him when he died on Monday afternoon, said Liz Rosenberg, publicist and friend of Nick Ashford.
Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson were inducted into the “Songwriters Hall of Fame” in 2002.
The duo, performers and songwriters, had a great contribution on setting the golden standard for R&B duets.
They broke out as R&B stars in the late ’70s and ’80s, with hits like Don’t Cost You Nothing, It Seems to Hang On, Found a Cure, Street Corner and their signature song, Solid.
Nick and Valerie recorded eight albums with Warner Bros., (four of them went gold), five with Capitol and two independently. Been Found, recorded in 1996, was created along with Maya Angelo, poet.
In 1966 they started to work with Motown. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson wrote or produced most of the songs of Motown’s Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, You’re All I Need to Get By, Your Precious Love. They also wrote hits for Chuck Jackson, The Shirelles, Maxine Brown and the Fifth Dimension.
Let’s Go Get Stoned, Ray Charles’ 1966 number one R&B hit, was written by Nick Ashford and Valerie together with Josie Jo Armstead.
They wrote and produced Diana Ross’ solo hits, including Diana’s first solo Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) and I’m Every Woman for Chaka Khan (Whitney Houston recorded it later).
In the recent years they performed occasionally. In 2001 they sang, with various artists, We are a family, a song by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers re-recorded as a benefit record for the September 11 attacks. Also they often hosted events at Sugar Bar. Bruce Willis, Michael Douglas, Steve Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg, David Rockefeller Jr., and many others attended their New York restaurant.
Nick Ashford was born on May 4, 1942, in Fairfield, South Carolina, New York, and he wished to be a dancer. In 1963 he met Valerie at Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church and they married in 1974. They have two children, Nicole (born in 1975) and Asia (born in 1987).
In the link below you can find pictures of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson children:
Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson performing Found a Cure (the album Stay Free went gold):
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