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.

Edited by LaMusicLovr on 24 Sep 2013, 09:13

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