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Motown Legendary Songwriter Nick Ashford Dead at 69

Nick Ashford

Nick Ashford - 5/4/42 - 8/22/11

Nick Ashford died yesterday after a long battle with throat cancer. This Motown legend worked with all the great R&B acts of the sixties and seventies. His musical resume’ reads like a who’s who of Rhythm and Blues.

He was half of the songwriting team of Ashford and Simpson who penned songs for the vocal duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell,  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“.

They wrote for artists such as The 5th Dimension (“California Soul“), Aretha Franklin (“Cry Like A Baby”), andRay Charles (“Let’s Go Get Stoned” and “‘I Don’t Need No Doctor”). It was their time working with Charles that caught the attention of Motown chief Berry Gordy.

As recently as 2007 Ashford and Simpson were given writing credit for  the single “Tears Dry On Their Own” on  Amy Winehouse‘s 2007 CD Back to Black.

“His music is unmatched in terms of great songwriting,” Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire said after learning of his friend’s death.

“They had magic and that’s what creates those wonderful hits, that magic,” White added. “Without those songs, those artists wouldn’t have been able to go to the next level.”

The R&B family lost a legend. Nick Ashford leaves behind a legacy of music that will live long after we are gone.

Source: AP