Ashford, who had been treated for cancer, died at a New York hospital with his family at his side, publicist Liz Rosenberg told Reuters.
A native of South Carolina, Ashford met Simpson in the early 1960s at White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem, after he moved to New York to pursue a career in entertainment and found himself homeless.
Simpson played the piano and sang in a church choir, which Ashford soon joined. The two began writing songs together and had their breakthrough hit in 1966 when Ray Charles released their composition "Let's Go Get Stoned." FULL STORY HERE
JOINT STATEMENT FROM LEGENDARY R&B PRODUCTION TEAM
KENNETH GAMBLE & LEON HUFF
ON THE PASSING OF NICK ASHFORD OF LEGENDARY MOTOWN SONGWRITING DUO ASHFORD & SIMPSON
Ashford produced Gamble & Huff smash “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” for Motown; Ashford & Simpson were key link between Motown Sound and Sound of Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA – “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.”
Gamble & Huff are among the most prolific professional songwriting teams of all time, having written and produced over 3,000 songs within 35 years, an output that rivals Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Leiber & Stoller and Holland-Dozier-Holland. Their message songs of peace, love, empowerment, social conscience and turmoil sold millions of records, as they fashioned the sweet, sexy, stirring, socially conscious Philly Sound at Philadelphia International Records (PIR).
Randy Alexander / Randex Communications
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