While no stranger to funk, Nick Ashford was best and arguably only known for his pop hits. He was part of the duo Ashford & Simpson and graced the world with tunes like Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Solid, Reach Out & Touch Somebody’s Hand, I’m Every Woman (one of biggest hits for Chaka Khan) and many more including Ray Charles’ Let’s Go Get Stoned. Sadly, Nick passed away at the age of 70 after a battle with throat cancer.
Nick was born on May 4, 1942 in South Carolina. He moved to New York to pursue a dancing career which fell through. He then met his wife Valerie Simpson at White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem and the couple were married for 38 years and have 2 daughters, Nicole and Asia. The couple signed with Motown (the couple would marry in 1974 after leaving Motown in 1970) and wrote the aforementioned string of hits for performers across all music genres even up until recently when they collaborated with the late Amy Winehouse on one of her best recordings called Tears Dry on Their Own off of her now infamous Back In Black album.
We at Funkatopia send our condolences to his family and hope they can take solace in knowing that Nick will forever be remembered as a true music great. While millions of artists try to even get close to his level of accomplishment, Nick can rest in peace as his songs will live on forever. Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire said, “They 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.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.