Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Style Icon: Nick Ashford passes away at 69 - Remembering Ashford & Simpson

1942 - 2011

A motown legend passes at age 69 of throat cancer leaving behind his duo partner and wife  (Valerie Simpson) as well as a legacy of phenomenal top chart songs........Mr.  ASHFORD will be missed.

Since the beginning of their career together over 30 years ago, Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson have become one of the most prolific and versatile musical couples in recording history. Combining skills as performers, songwriters and producers, they have created an unprecedented catalog of chart-topping hit singles and album, collecting 22 gold and platinum records and more than 50 ASCAP Awards. 

The couple met in 1964 at the White Rock Baptist Church in New York City. Nick had come to New York to pursue a dance career and Valerie was playing piano and singing with the church's legendary choir. Nick joined the choir and the two began writing pop songs for fun. Word of the talented duo spread quickly and Ashford & Simpson sold their first batch of songs for $64.00. A career was born.

As staff songwriters for Sceptor Records, Nick and Valerie wrote Ray Charles' classic "Let's Go Get Stoned" in 1964 which brought them to the attention of Motown where they wrote their second smash "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Other Gaye/Terrell hits followed including "Your Precious Love," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," and "You're All I Need to Get By."

Ashford & Simpson signed with Warner Brothers in 1973 as recording artists and recorded eight albums, four of which went gold. Their numerous hit singles include "Send It," "Found A Cure," "Don't Cost You Nothing," "It Seems To Hang On," and "Love Don't Make It Right." In addition to their own growing catalog of songs, Ashford & Simpson wrote and produced for Ben E. King, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and many more......Some of my favorite songs include "Im Every Woman" sung by Chaka Khan in the 80's and then remade in the 90's by Whitney Houston.

Check out this performance by Ashford and Simpson:


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