Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nick Ashford, Motown legend, dies aged 70

Nick Ashford, who co-wrote classics such as Ain't No Mountain High Enough, dies of throat cancer.

Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson that penned elegant, soulful classics for Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye has died at the age of 70 from throat cancer.

Ashford and his wife Valerie Simpson wrote Motown classics Ain't No Mountain High Enough and Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand (recorded by Ross and You're All I Need To Get By (made famous by Gaye and Tammi Terrell) and they also wrote pop hits such as I'm Every Woman", which was a hit for Chaka Khan and, later, Whitney Houston.

They also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps the biggest known hit sung by them was the 1980s hit Solid As A Rock.

Ashford and Simpson's relationship stretched more than four decades. They met in 1964 in a New York City church; Ashford, a South Carolina native, had come to the city to pursue a dance career. Simpson was a music student, and after connecting with her, they decided to start to write songs together.

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