Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson that penned elegant, soulful classics for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan and others, died Monday at age 70, his former publicist said. Ashford, who along with wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits, died in a New York City hospital, said publicist Liz Rosenberg, who was Ashford’s longtime friend. He had been suffering from throat cancer and had undergone radiation treatment, she told The Associated Press.
I had been blessed to meet them last summer and I can say that the love that emanated between them was the epitome of all that one hopes for in Black love. He still looked at Valerie with love in his eyes each night. Each of their videos gave life and light to what their love for each other was.
Here is my photo last summer with friends at the couple’s Sugar Bar.
How ironic when you consider the beautiful songs that came from that throat. What a wonderful voice he had.
I LOVED the beautiful songs that he wrote. What a poet, he was. And what a legacy he has left to us in a world where real music is a thing that’s going the way of the dinosaur.
Nick Ashford, who with his wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of Motown’s most powerful love duets, died Monday in a New York hospital.
He was 69 and had been undergoing radiation treatments for throat cancer.
Ashford and Simpson wrote Motown’s two favorite “Ain’t” songs, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” along with “You’re All I Need To Get By.”
They also had a long singing career, scoring their biggest chart hit with 1984′s “Solid (As a Rock)” and later settling into a long run at clubs and cabarets.
They also owned several restaurant/clubs, including the 20/20 on W. 20th St. and the Sugar Bar on W. 72nd St.
They were a DJ team for several years on WRKS (98.7 FM), playing the kind of music they wrote and sang.
Ashford, a tall imposing man whose signature hair was long, was known as a gentle presence in the music business.
Nickolas Ashford was born in South Carolina and grew up in Michigan. He moved to New York in the early 1960s with $57 in his pocket, hoping to make it in show business. He was attending Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church when he met Valerie Simpson, a New Yorker who sang in the choir and also had musical ambitions.
They recorded together briefly and unsuccessfully in 1964 as “Valerie and Nick,” but had more success with writing songs – which at first, said Ashford, they sold for $75 apiece.