Motown hitmaker Nick Ashford passes away at 70

Legendary songwriter Nick Ashford died on Monday in a New York hospital at age 70 of complications related to throat cancer.

Ashford enjoyed considerable success during the 1960s and ’70s with his wife Valerie Simpson, who he married in 1974. Together they were the unstoppable production duo known as Ashford & Simpson, who were behind some of the Motown era’s biggest hits. They wrote and produced such classics as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “I’m Every Woman,” “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”

Ashford & Simpson, who were inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame in 2002, also performed their own music, producing sixteen albums from 1973 to 1996. Their most successful single, “Solid,” reached number one on Billboard‘s U.S. R&B chart in 1984.

Today is an especially sad day for the music world. Just hours before Ashford’s death, another famed songwriter, Jerry Leiber, passed away at age 78.

Jerry Leiber, co-writer of ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Hound Dog,’ dies at 78

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  • HD

    Solid, solid as a rock! In peace, please rest Ashford.

    • brineve

      I loved Solid a no. 12 hit in 1985! Didn’t he write ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ by yarbrough and peoples too? RIP, solid as a rock, that’s what this love is, hot hot hot….solid!

      • Brian

        @Lucy, you’re a thief and a liar.

    • evette ringo

      May god bless the family I really enjoyed listening to all of your music and to see how you two were such a loveable couple. may peace be with you doing this difficult time

    • Fawn Brooks

      You will be greatly missed,I was lucky to have the opportunity to meet you once, even though it was only because i fixed your coffe for you at Dunkin Donuts in Bpt, Ct on Main St. All I remember is you liked your coffee with 2 sweet n lows or splenda i forget RIP Nick.

  • Matt

    Nick and Valerie were a genius team. “Solid” was a song that was ahead of its time. RIP Nick. We can only miss you.

  • Sina

    When I was a teen and found out they were all those great Marvin/Tammy duets, I loved them even more. They really show that Black doesn’t crack because I had NO idea that man was 70!!!!! 70 years old. OMG. He looked 50. He will live on through all their songs. Especially the Motown songs. You’re all I need to get by………

  • Jesse

    Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing and Ashford was the real thing. What a talented human being. I just hope he knew how much his music was appreciated. Condolences to Simpson and to all their families and friends.

    • Gingertgee

      Not only did they write the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell hits but on some of the songs, Tammi was sick and unable to finish the tunes. Valerie Simpson supplied the vocals for those songs as well. They were definitely the real thing. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert when they wrote Send It and let me tell you. They really put on a show and were so into each other. It was truly beautiful.

  • Robin

    Nick thanks for the Music.

  • Shanelle33

    I just got married on Saturday and we played three of their wonderful songs at the reception. So sad to hear this news. RIP Rick and thank you for the amazing memories.

    • TC

      If you are going to show respect for someone that has passed on you should at least know their name it’s Nick not Rick

    • Doug

      God bless you two for that

  • Kaiulani

    They wrote some of my favorite songs….RIP!

  • andrew lloyd

    Everytime I think of “Reach Out and Touch” I think about that Jackson 5 movie…those were some good songs. On a side note, does anyone know if the actor who played young Michael in the movie is the same actor who came out in “Drumline” with Nick Cannon?

    • Demond

      Yes.That is the same actor.His name is Jason Weaver.He was also in ATL with T.I. and a few other t.v. shows and movies.

      • Deb

        Yes, Jason Weaver played young Michael Jackson in the Jackon 5 movie and Drumline. He also played on the T.V. show “Smart Guy”, alongside Taj Mowery, the younger brother of Tia and Tamera Mowery.

  • Brenda R. L. P.

    Nick Ashford sets the example that you can accomplish greatness if you work at it. He came from modest means and hardship to being a legacy in the entertainment field. I had the privilege to see Ashford and Simpson in concert live and they delivered. I hope she and their families get through this somber time. I really did and still do enjoy their music. Hold on and be strong Simpson. RIP Ashford. You’re “Solid As A Rock!”

  • NJ fan

    R.I.P Nick…
    Be strong Valerie…

  • Acaseofgeo

    I enjoyed their music as much as I was exposed to it on pop stations as a younger man. Retroactively I really appreciate their work with Diana Ross, especially on “The Boss” album. It always struck me that this couple was so deeply in love, its almost as if their name “Ashford & Simpson” was just one combined word.

    • Brenda R. L. P.

      So true Acaseofgeo. They are one unit who survived and made it happen! ” Love Will Fix It.” “Ashford and Simpson”
      two souls ONE unit. Thanks for your comment Acaseofgeo.

  • Brenda R. L. P.


  • toby

    nothing but love,nothing but love. your gift to the world leaves great sweet memories

    • Brenda R. L. P.

      That’s what I’m feeling right now toby. Thanks for sharing your comment.

  • Ramury

    R.I.P Nick, you will be missed, and never forgotten

  • mdbaum

    “I may not be able to express the depth of the love I feel for you. But a writer put it very nicely when ge was away from the one he loved. He sat down and wrote these words:
    ‘No wind, no rain…..’,

    • Sue1

      Love this especially, but their wonderful talent shows in all their songs. Condolence to Valerie, RIP Nick.

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