Nickolas Ashford (May 4, 1941 - August 22, 2011), and Valerie Simpson (born August 26, 1946), were a husband and wife songwriting/production team and recording artists.
Ashford was born in Fairfield, South Carolina, and Simpson in the Bronx, New York. 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)". 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 and Simpson's best-known duets are "Solid" (1984 US and 1985 UK), and "Found a Cure" (1979). The duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
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