Nick Ashford, songwriter, producer and part of Ashford & Simpson, died Monday, Aug. 22, after battle with throat cancer.
Nickolas Ashford, born in South Carolina, on May 4, 1942, was one of the most respected songwriters and performers of the past five-plus decades. He died at age 70 on Monday, Aug. 22, from a battle with throat cancer.
With his partner Valerie Simpson, Ashford & Simpson scored their first songwriting hit with 1966's "Let's Go Get Stoned," which Ray Charles took to the charts. The heralded songwriting team also wrote hits for Chaka Kahn, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel and other Motown artists.
Ashford & Simpson, the performers, started their career in 1973 and scored several hits in the 1970s. In 1984, the pair scored a Number One hit for themselves with the title track to their gold record Solid.
In a joint statement from the legendary Philadelphia-based R&B production team, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, released Tuesday upon the passing of Ashford, the pair praised Ashford as one of Gamble & Huff's "favorite songwriting colleagues and producers" and consider Ashford & Simpson a "key link between [the] Motown Sound and Sound of Philadelphia."
Ashford produced Gamble & Huff smash hit “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” for Motown.
The statement: “Nick Ashford was truly one of our favorite songwriting colleagues and producers. He and Valerie Simpson had a major impact on Gamble & Huff's songwriting career, as Nick was responsible for producing a song we wrote, ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,’ with Motown. Nick heard the song after we wrote it for Dee Dee Warwick and made it a major hit for Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations together. We also worked with Ashford & Simpson on ‘Is It Still Good to You,’ which they wrote for Teddy Pendergrass, and they did an excellent job. We’re longtime admirers of Ashford & Simpson as one of the greatest songwriting teams ever. Nick was a multi-talented artist, and he will be truly, truly missed by both of us.”
Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire told the Associated Press, "[Ashford & Simpson] had magic, and that's what creates those wonderful hits, that magic. Without those songs, those artists wouldn't have been able to go to the next level."
As MTV reports, "in the mid-'90s, the duo opened the Sugar Bar in Manhattan, where they still frequently performed. They also connected with a new generation of music lovers when they worked with the late Amy Winehouse on her track 'Tears Dry on Their Own.'"
Ashford & Simpson received a songwriting credit for the song, which samples "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," the Motown hit the pair wrote in the 1960s and which Terrell and Gaye had a famous hit with in 1967.
The last time Atlantic City Weekly spoke with Ashford was in 2005, at the grand opening celebration of Jay-Z's 40/40 Club in Atlantic City.
Ashford was looking forward to performing at the former Sands in Atlantic City that year and about a new stage production.
To read that interview click on the link.
“We got a bunch of new songs to play and it’ll be interesting to see how people respond to them. I’m looking forward to doing the show in Atlantic City since we’ve never played around the casinos there. We played at Bader Field at the festival Dave Matthews put together last summer [the Dave Matthews Band Caravan]. But this time I’m excited that we’ll be there in the thick of things because I’m looking forward to gambling."
ATLANTIC CITY — As we near the end of another great summer, there are still some cool concerts and musical events left this season. I am looking forward to YouTube/a cappella sensation Straight No Chaser. If the group’s non-holiday catalogue is as fun as the songs that have become Christmas/Chanukah classics on my laptop, then I am sure the concert will be fun. In fact, several readers have already endorsed Straight No Chaser, performing at Harrah’s Concert Venue through Sept. 4. Another big deal for me is Donnie Osmond coming to the Borgata on Saturday, Aug. 27. I would pay twice the admission to hear Osmond discuss candidly the music business and the changes since he and his brothers first took to the stage in the 1970s. As we say in my circle, Donny Osmond “has seen a lot of...
Best Albums of 2012
Rap Legends Return to House of Blues