Nick Ashford life and biography

Nick Ashford picture, image, poster

Nick Ashford biography

Date of birth : 1941-05-04
Date of death : 2011-08-22
Birthplace : Fairfield, South Carolina, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-08-24
Credited as : Songwriter, Ashford & Simpson, Amy Winehouse

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Nickolas Ashford was an American Soul and Pop songwriter and recording producer. He was born Fairfield, South Carolina.

Ashford and Valerie Simpson become a famous recording artists duo back in the early 1960s as part of the gospel group The Followers.

They 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, Joshie 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)". As performers, Ashford and Simpson's best-known song is "Solid" (1984 US and 1985 UK). The duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

In recent times, Ashford & Simpson recorded and toured sporadically, and in 1996, they opened the restaurant and live entertainment venue, Sugar Bar in New York City, which has an open mic on Thursday nights, where performers have included Queen Latifah and Felicia Collins. They recorded the album Been Found with poet Maya Angelou in 1996. Around this time, they were also featured disc jockeys on New York's KISS-FM radio station.

On August 16, 2006, Playbill Online reported that they were writing the score for a musical based on E. Lynn Harris's novel Invisible Life. In January 2007, they, along with Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Sidney Poitier, director Spike Lee, and comedian Chris Tucker accompanied Oprah Winfrey when she opened her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

They were given writing credit on Amy Winehouse's 2007 CD Back to Black for the single "Tears Dry On Their Own". The track is based on a sample of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1967 Motown classic hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". They had began performing their act in small, intimate venues, such as Feinstein's at the Regency in New York and the Rrazz Room in San Francisco, and in January 2009, they released a CD and DVD of their live performances titled The Real Thing. On June 22, 2009, they made a guest performance at a party at Tribeca Rooftop, New York, to celebrate Virgin Atlantic's birthday party. They also made their first appearance in Tokyo, Japan, in November 2009, and performed 8 shows in 4 days at Blue Note Tokyo.

Ashford died in New York on August 22, 2011, of complications from throat cancer. Nick's publicist Liz Rosenberg said that he had been undergoing radiation treatment to treat his illness. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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