Nickolas Ashford (born May 4, 1942 in Fairfield, SC – August 22, 2011 in New York City) and Valerie Simpson (born August 26, 1946 in Bronx, NY) were a husband and wife songwriting/production team and recording artists. Their best-known songs include "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need To Get By", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)".
As performers, their best-known song is "Solid" (1984 US and 1985 UK), although they have had many other hits, mostly on the R&B charts. Many of their songs have been recorded in hit versions by artists as diverse as Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and so many, many others.
Ashford and Simpson met at Harlem's White Rock Baptist Church in 1963. After having recorded unsuccessfully as a duo, they joined aspiring solo artist and former member of the Ikettes, Josie Jo Armstead, at the Scepter/Wand label where their compositions were recorded by Ronnie Milsap ("Never Had It So Good"), Maxine Brown ("One Step At A Time"), as well as the Shirelles and Chuck Jackson. Another of the trio's songs "Let's Go Get Stoned" gave Ray Charles a number one U.S. R&B hit in 1966. That same year Ashford & Simpson joined Motown where their best-known songs included "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need To Get By", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)".
The duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
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