Ashford And Simpson

August 23, 2011 by Post Team 

Ashford And SimpsonAshford And Simpson, Nick Ashford, half of the legendary Motown songwriting team of Ashford & Simpson wrote elegant and soulful classics from the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and hit the funk of Chaka Khan and others, died Monday at age 70, said his previous publications.

Ashford, who along with his wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of the biggest hits of Motown, died at a hospital in New York City, said publicist Liz Rosenberg, who was a friend of many years of Ashford. He had been suffering from throat cancer and had undergone radiation treatment, told The Associated Press.

Although it had some of their biggest Motown hits, with classics like “Is not No Mountain High Enough” and “reach out and touch someone’s hand” by Ross and “You’re all I need to move” from Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Ashford & Simpson also created songs for others, like “I’m Every Woman” Khan (later remade by Whitney Houston). Ashford & Simpson also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps the best-known song they sang was the 1980 hit “Solid as a rock.”

“His music is unmatched in terms of songwriting great,” said Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire after learning of the death of his friend.

“They were magic and that is what creates those wonderful successes, that magic,” added White. “Without those songs, the artists have not been able to go to the next level.”

Others in the music industry also lamented the loss. On Twitter, Alicia Keys, wrote, “I’m so sad he’s gone. … So many of the greatests go to a place … what a legacy of the contagious music … man!”

Ashford and Simpson relationship stretched over four decades. They met in 1964 at a church in New York. Ashford, born in South Carolina, had arrived in the city to pursue a dance career. Simpson was a music student, and after connecting with her, decided to start writing songs together.

“They were always comfortable with each other and made everyone feel comfortable, because they felt comfortable,” said White.

His first major success came when they thought “Let’s Get Stoned” by Ray Charles. The blues, gospel song became a huge hit for Carlos, and soon came to the attention of Motown Records and began writing hits for artists.

They began to compose works sentimental, romantic for Gaye and Terrell duet that became instant classics as “Your Precious Love” and “Is not nothing like the real thing.” In fact, “Is not No Mountain High Enough” was originally his success, until Ross then returned to recording with a new arrangement that had radical pop greatness and became her signature song.

Ross might have been his greatest muse with her, had some of his most successful songs and helped give her definition of career success to distinguish her solo career apart from The Supremes. Among the songs became hits were Ross “Reach Out and Touch,” “The Boss”, “My House” and “Missing You,” a tribute to the late Gaye and others. He also composed some music from “The Wiz”, the movie musical starring Ross and Michael Jackson.

In an industry where marriages and alliances are fleeting, Ashford and Simpson stood the test of time.

“The thing is married and working together, that was what was special about them. Everyone admires,” said White.

The duo, married for 38 years, helped sell millions of records from various artists. They also had success as its own, but despite “solid as a rock,” those who wrote for others dwarfed his songs. They followed the boats of success; even in the new millennium is credited as co-authors of Amy Winehouse “Tears dry on their own.”

In recent years, the couple continued to perform. He also owned the Sugar Bar in New York City restaurant, where many big names and new talent was on display cases.

In 2002, Ashford & Simpson were inducted into the Hall of Fame Composers.

His wife and two daughters survive Ashford. Rosenberg said there was no information yet on funeral arrangements.

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