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Ashford & Simpson

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Ashford & Simpson es una pareja de


compositores, productores y artistas
estadounidenses formada por Nickolas
Ashford y Valerie Simpson.1 Aunque sus
composiciones están estrechamente
ligadas a las casa discográfica Motown, su
primer éxito como compositores fue
«Let's Go Get Stoned» un número uno
para Ray Charles en las listas de R&B en
1966. Ashford & Simpson fueron incluidos
en el Songwriters' Hall of Fame en 2002.2

Índice
1 Compositores
2 Artistas
3 Discografía
4 Referencias
5 Enlaces externos

Compositores

En 1966 ficharon por Motown, donde


compusieron varios de los éxitos grabados
por Marvin Gaye y Tammi Terrell,
incluyendo «Ain't No Mountain High
Enough» (1967), que también sería un
éxito más tarde Diana Ross, como solista.
Al marcharse Ross de Motown, Ashford &
Simpson compusieron y produjeron el
primer éxito de esta como solista, «Reach
Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)».
Otros artistas de Motown para quienes
compusieron el dúo Ashford & Simpson
incluyen Gladys Knight & The Pips, Smokey
Robinson & The Miracles, The
Marvelettes, y The Supremes.

Su «I’m Every Woman» fue grabada por


Whitney Houston para la banda sonora de
El guardaespaldas (1993).2
Artistas

Además de sus carreras en solitario,


Ashford & Simpson han grabado como
dúo, siendo su mayor éxito «Solid», de
1984.
Discografía
Gimme Something Real (Warner 1973)
I Wanna Be Selfish (Warner 1974)
Come As You Are (Warner 1976)
So, So Satisfied (Warner 1977)
Send It (Warner 1977)
Is It Still Good To Ya? (Warner 1978)
Stay Free (Warner 1979)
A Musical Affair (Warner 1980)
Performance (Warner 1981)
Street Opera (Capitol 1982)
High-Rise (Capitol 1983)
Solid (Capitol 1984)
Real Love (Capitol 1986)
Love Or Physical (Capitol 1989)
Been Found (Hopsack & Silk
1996)Ashford & Simpson
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2010)
Ashford & Simpson
Origin New York City, United States
Genres R&B, soul, pop, disco, gospel
Instruments piano
Years active 1964–2011
Labels Motown, Warner Bros., Capitol
Associated acts Marvin Gaye and
Tammi Terrell, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder,
Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross

Nickolas Ashford (May 4, 1941 – August


22, 2011),[1][2] and Valerie Simpson (born
August 26, 1946), were a husband and
wife songwriting/production team and
recording artists.[3]

Ashford was born in Fairfield, South


Carolina, and Simpson in the Bronx, New
York. They met at Harlem's White Rock
Baptist Church in 1964. 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)". Ashford and Simpson wrote many
other hit songs including Chaka Khan's
"I'm Every Woman" (1978) and Teddy
Pendergrass's "Is It Still Good to You?" As
performers, Ashford & Simpson's best-
known duets are "Solid (As a Rock)" (1984
US and 1985 UK), and "Found a Cure"
(1979). The duo was inducted into the
Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
Contents
1 Career
1.1 Songwriters
1.2 Performers
1.3 Recent years and Ashford's death
2 Personal life
3 Discography
3.1 Albums
3.1.1 Valerie Simpson
3.1.2 Ashford & Simpson
3.2 Singles
3.2.1 Valerie Simpson
3.2.2 Ashford & Simpson
4 See also
5 References
6 External links
Career
Songwriters

The duo essentially had two careers: one


as a successful writing and producing
team and the other as singers and
performers themselves. They started their
career in the mid-1960s, writing for artists
such as The 5th Dimension ("California
Soul"), Aretha Franklin ("Cry Like A Baby"),
and Ray Charles ("Let's Go Get Stoned"
and "I Don't Need No Doctor"). Their work
with Charles brought them to the
attention of Motown chief Berry Gordy.

Upon joining the Motown staff in 1966,


Ashford & Simpson were paired with the
vocal duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell,
and they wrote and/or produced all but
one of the late-1960s Gaye/Terrell singles,
including hits such as the original version
of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough",
"Your Precious Love", "Ain't Nothing Like
the Real Thing", and "You're All I Need to
Get By". According to Gaye in the book
Divided Soul, Simpson did most of the
vocals on the last album he did with
Terrell, Easy, as a way for Terrell's family to
have additional income as she was battling
an ultimately fatal brain tumor. (Simpson
is quoted as denying this in a book written
by Terrell's sister Ludie Montgomery; and
Louvain Demps, singer of The Andantes,
has stated that she saw Terrell recording
the album.)

Ashford & Simpson wrote and produced


almost all the songs on three 1970s
albums for former Supreme Diana Ross,
including her first solo album Diana Ross
("Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's
Hand)"[4] and "Ain't No Mountain High
Enough"), Surrender ("Remember Me"),
and The Boss. All three albums were
critically acclaimed with "Diana Ross" her
1970 album debut and "The Boss" being
certified platinum and "Surrender"
certified Gold.

Other Motown artists whom Ashford &


Simpson worked with include Gladys
Knight & The Pips ("Didn't You Know You'd
Have to Cry Sometime", "The Landlord",
"Bourgie, Bourgie", and "Taste of Bitter
Love"), Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
("Who's Gonna Take the Blame"), The
Marvelettes ("Destination:Anywhere"),
The Supremes ("Some Things You Never
Get Used To"), and The Dynamic Superiors
("Shoe, Shoe Shine").

Other artists with whom Ashford &


Simpson had hits were Teddy Pendergrass
("Is It Still Good to You"), The Brothers
Johnson ("Ride-O-Rocket"), Chaka Khan,
both on her own ("I'm Every Woman" and
"Clouds"), and with Rufus ("Keep It
Comin'" and "Ain't Nothin' But a Maybe").
Performers

Ashford & Simpson's career as recording


artists began in the early 1960s as part of
the gospel group The Followers, with
whom they recorded the album Gospel
Meeting (on Forum Circle), later issued as
Meetin' The Followers (on Roulette
Records). The LP contains their vocals and
also four Ashford compositions. In 1964,
they recorded "I'll Find You", as "Valerie &
Nick" This was followed by several obscure
singles recorded by Ashford on the Glover,
Verve and ABC labels, such as "It Ain't Like
That" (later recorded by Martha Reeves &
The Vandellas), "California Soul", and
"Dead End Kids", backed by his own
version of "Let's Go Get Stoned". After
concentrating on working with other
artists, Simpson was the featured soloist
on the songs "Bridge Over Troubled
Water" and "What's Going On" on the
Quincy Jones albums Gula Matari in 1970,
and its follow-up, Smackwater Jack.
Simpson subsequently recorded two solo
LPs for Motown: Valerie Simpson Exposed
in 1971, and, the following year, Valerie
Simpson, which included the single "Silly,
Wasn't I", which was later sampled on 50
Cent's "Best Friend" from the movie Get
Rich or Die Tryin'. The song was also
sampled by 9th Wonder on Murs's "Silly
Girl" in the album Murray's Revenge.
Ashford & Simpson were featured singing
selections from Simpson's solo albums on
the PBS TV show Soul!, hosted by Ellis
Haizlip in 1971. In 1973, they left Motown
after the albums Simpson recorded for the
label received poor promotion and the
company refused to release an album of
the duo recording a collection of their
most famous songs for other artists.

In 1974, Ashford & Simpson married and


resumed their career as a duo with the
Warner Bros. album, Gimme Something
Real. This was followed by the hit singles,
"Don't Cost You Nothin'" (1977), "It Seems
to Hang On" (1978), "Is It Still Good to Ya"
(1978), "Found a Cure" (1979), "Street
Corner" (1982), and their biggest hit,
"Solid (As a Rock)", released in 1984.

In 1978, they were featured as vocalists,


along with Chaka Khan, on the hit single
"Stuff Like That" from Quincy Jones'
Sounds... And Stuff Like That album and
contributed to the writing of the
soundtrack to The Wiz.

Simpson appeared (with Melba Moore) as


part of the "Blood, Sweat & Tears Soul
Chorus" on the band's Al Kooper-led
debut album on Columbia Records, Child
Is Father to the Man.

On his own, Ashford (along with Frank


Wilson), produced the mammoth hit "I'm
Gonna Make You Love Me", which Diana
Ross & the Supremes recorded in
collaboration with the Temptations in
1968. He also appeared in the movie New
Jack City (1991), as Reverend Oates, an
ordained minister who was part of Nino
Brown's entourage.

Simpson's brothers were in the record


business as well: Ray Simpson replaced
Victor Willis in the Village People and their
brother Jimmy Simpson produced the
group GQ (which had big hits with "Disco
Nights" and "I Do Love You"), and was in
great demand as a mixing engineer during
the disco era.
Recent years and Ashford's death

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 radio station WRKS.

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. [5] In January 2007,
they, along with Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige,
Mariah Carey, Sidney Poitier, director
Spike Lee, and comedian Chris Rock
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 begun 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.

At President Barack Obama 2009


Inauguration, Ashford and Simpson
rewrote their "Solid Like a Rock" to "Solid
as Barack" and they dedicated it to new
president at his inaugural festivities.

Ashford died in a New York City hospital


on August 22, 2011, of complications from
throat cancer. His publicist, Liz Rosenberg,
said that he had undergone radiation
therapy to treat his illness.[6]

Simpson released a new solo album in


June 2012, called Dinosaurs Are Coming
Back Again, that also features the last
recorded performance of Nina Simone, a
second duet with Roberta Flack and an
instrumental version of "Ain't No
Mountain High Enough".
Personal life

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson have


two daughters, Nicole (born in 1975), and
Asia (born in 1987).[7] Nicole graduated
from Wesleyan University in 1997.[8]
Discography
Albums
Valerie Simpson
Year Album Chart positions[9] Record
label
US US
R&B
1971 Exposed — — Motown
1972 Valerie Simpson 162 50
1977 Keep It Comin' — —
2012 Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again
— — Hopsack & Silk
Ashford & Simpson
Year Album Chart positions[10] US
certifications[11] Record label
US US
R&B UK
1973 Gimme Something Real 156
18 — — Warner Bros.
1974 I Wanna Be Selfish 195 21
— —
1976 Come as You Are 189 35 —

1977 So So Satisfied 180 30 —

Send It 52 10 — Gold
1978 Is It Still Good to Ya? 20 1 —
Gold
1979 Stay Free 23 3 — Gold
1980 A Musical Affair 38 8 — —
1981 Performance 125 45 — —
1982 Street Opera 45 5 — —
Capitol
1983 High-Rise 84 14 — —
1984 Solid 29 1 42 Gold
1986 Real Love 74 12 — —
1989 Love or Physical 135 28 —

1996 Been Found — 49 — —
Hopsack & Silk
2009 The Real Thing — 59 — —
Burgundy Records
"—" denotes the album failed to chart or
was not certified
Singles
Valerie Simpson

1971: "Can't It Wait Until Tomorrow"


1972: "Silly Wasn't I" – US No. 63, R&B
No. 24

Ashford & Simpson


Year Single Chart positions[12][13]
Album
US US
R&B US
Dance US
A/C UK
1964 "I'll Find You" (credited as Valerie &
Nick) 117 — — — — Non-album
single
"Somebody's Lying on Love" (credited as
Valerie & Nick) — — — — —
"You Don't Owe Me Anything" (credited as
Valerie & Nick) — — — — —
1973 "(I'd Know You) Anywhere" 88
37 — — — Gimme Something Real
1974 "Have You Ever Tried It" — 77
— — —
"Main Line" — 37 — — — I Wanna
Be Selfish
"Everybody's Got to Give It Up" — 53
— — —
1975 "Bend Me" — 73 — — —
Gimme Something Real
1976 "It'll Come, It'll Come, It'll Come"
— 96 — — — Come as You Are
"Somebody Told a Lie" — 58 — —

"One More Try" — — 9 — —
"Tried, Tested and Found True" — 52
34 — — So So Satisfied
1977 "So So Satisfied" — 27 — —

"Over and Over" — 39 — — —
"Send It" — 15 — — — Send It
1978 "Don't Cost You Nothing" 79 10
23 — —
"By Way of Love's Express" — 35 —
— —
"It Seems to Hang On" — 2 — —
48 Is It Still Good to Ya
"Is It Still Good to Ya" — 12 — — —
1979 "Flashback" — 70 — — —
"Found a Cure" 36 2 1 — — Stay
Free
"Nobody Knows" — 19 — —
"Stay Free" — — — —
1980 "Love Don't Make It Right" — 6
7 — — A Musical Affair
"Happy Endings" — 35 — — —
1981 "Get Out Your Handkerchief" —
65 — — —
"It Shows in the Eyes" — 34 — —
— Performance
"It's the Long Run" — — — — —
1982 "Street Corner" 56 9 11 —
— Street Opera
"Love It Away" — 20 — — —
1983 "I'll Take the Whole World On"
— — — — —
"High-Rise" — 17 41 — — High-
Rise
"It's Much Deeper" — 45 — — —
1984 "I'm Not That Tough" — 78 —
— —
"Solid (as a Rock)" 12 1 15 34 3
Solid
1985 "Outta the World" 102 4 4
— —
"Babies" 102 29 — — 56
1986 "Time Talkin'" — — — — —
Time
"Count Your Blessings" 84 4 — —
79 Real Love
"What Becomes of Love" — — — —

1987 "Nobody Walks in L.A." — —
— — —
1989 "I'll Be There for You" — 2 —
— — Love or Physical
"Cookies and Cake" — — — — —
1990 "Hungry for Me Again" — 40
— — — Def by Temptation
1996 "Been Found" — 80 — — —
Been Found
1997 "What If" — 94 — — —
2001 "We Are Family" (with Various
Artists) — — — — — Non-album
single
"—" denotes the single failed to chart
See also