Ashford & Simpson Music (R&B Artist – Songs, Biography, Interesting Facts)

The music of Ashford & Simpson has been an iconic part of the American musical landscape for decades. The powerful duo, consisting of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, created a unique sound that combined soulful vocals with infectious melodies. Together, they wrote some of the most beloved songs in R&B history, as well as having success as performers and producers. This article will explore the legacy left behind by this dynamic pair and their impact on modern music.

Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson first met in 1964 at Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church Choir where both were members. They quickly discovered a mutual love of writing and began collaborating professionally soon after. Their breakthrough hit “Let’s Go Get Stoned” was released in 1966 and reached number 13 on Billboard Hot 100 chart – kicking off a career full of memorable hits such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967), “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand” (1970) and “Solid” (1984). These classic tracks not only showcased their incredible songwriting skills but also helped define what came to be known as “Philly Soul”.

For over three decades, Asford & Simpson remained one of the premier duos within popular music – proving themselves time and again with timeless classics like “I’m Every Woman”, originally sung by Chaka Khan before being re-recorded Whitney Houston for her album ‘The Bodyguard’. The husband-wife team earned seven Grammy nominations during their lifetime together while earning induction into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2002. It can truly be said that without Ashford & Simpsons’ contribution to R&B music, it would look drastically different today.

Background And Early Career

Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson were an iconic musical duo who rose to prominence in the late 1960s. They began their career as a songwriting team, writing for other artists such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Diana Ross. Their close partnership was evident when they wrote songs together; one would start a lyric or melody while the other finished it off.

In 1966, they signed with Motown Records and released their first single “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” which became an instant hit. The success of this single led them to release two albums that same year – Take Me Away and Gimme Something Real – both of which contained some of their most popular tracks, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand”.

The pair went on to write more hits for other artists during the 1970s: “You’re All I Need To Get By” for Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell; “Solid (As A Rock)” by Ashford & Simpson; “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan; and many others. These songs made them famous not only among fans but also within the music industry due to their distinctive sound.

Their own recordings continued throughout the 1980s until 1992 when Nickolas Ashford died at age 56 from complications related to throat cancer. Although he is gone now, his legacy lives on through his timeless compositions that still remain relevant today.

Successful Collaborations

Throughout their career, Ashford & Simpson proved to be a formidable duo of songwriters and performers. Their ability to collaborate with other artists was key in their success; they wrote songs for some of the biggest names in music history, from Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross to Chaka Khan and Luther Vandross. As well as writing together, they also performed duets on many of these tracks, creating something special that could only come from them.

Their unique sound came from blending different styles such as Motown soul, gospel influences, funk rhythms, jazz chords and pop sensibilities into one cohesive whole. This combination made their work stand out amongst those of other writers – it had an unmistakable flavor that set them apart from the rest. Even today, when you hear their output it still feels fresh and modern thanks to its timelessness.

In addition to writing hits for others, Ashford & Simpson also achieved commercial success as recording artists themselves. Some of their most recognizable singles are “Solid (As A Rock)”, “Is It Still Good To You?” and “Street Corner” among others. They even won an Emmy Award in 1981 for Best Original Song Written Specifically For Television or Motion Picture (“It’s Gonna Take a Miracle”) which further demonstrated just how talented they were at crafting unforgettable melodies.

From penning classic numbers for iconic singers to performing memorable collaborations with fellow musicians – there is no denying that Ashford & Simpson left behind a lasting legacy through their extraordinary contribution to music history.

Musical Style

With a style that effortlessly blended various musical genres, Ashford & Simpson created an unforgettable sound. From soul to funk and jazz to pop, the duo had a knack for drawing together different influences into something truly special.

Their use of gospel-influenced harmonies often acted as the foundation for their songs, providing them with an unmistakable flavor. Meanwhile, they seamlessly incorporated Motown’s signature rhythms and hooks while sprinkling in intricate chord progressions from jazz. As if this wasn’t enough, they also managed to inject elements of disco and rock into certain tracks – showing their versatility as songwriters.

The pair were well known for writing lyrics that spoke directly to the listener; these stories had universal themes like love and heartbreak which made them relatable no matter who heard them. This ability to connect inspired many up-and-coming artists – helping them create music that resonates deeply within people long after it has been released.

In short, Ashford & Simpson produced some of the most poignant and timeless music ever recorded. Their influence can still be felt today through countless covers by modern singers – further cementing their legacy as one of the greatest collaborations in popular music history.

Impact On Pop Culture

The impact of Ashford & Simpson’s music cannot be overstated. It has had a lasting influence on pop culture, inspiring generations of musicians and fans alike. Their ability to create timeless songs that are still played today is testament to their greatness as songwriters and performers.

Their sound was incredibly influential during the 1970s and 1980s, especially in soul and R&B circles where they were highly respected for their mastery of different styles. This admiration led many artists – such as Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Ross – to cover some of their most well-known tracks, further cementing their legacy in both contemporary R&B and classic Motown scenes.

But it wasn’t just singers who took inspiration from them – numerous hip hop acts have sampled or interpolated parts of their discography throughout the years. From Nas’ ‘I Can’ extending the chorus from ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ to Kanye West sampling elements from ‘Stay Free’ for his hit record ‘Stronger’; there is no denying that modern day hip hop wouldn’t exist without Ashford & Simpson’s influence.

It can safely be said that Ashford & Simpson will continue to inspire audiences for years to come with their unparalleled blend of musical genres combined with emotionally charged lyrics. They stand out as one of the greatest collaborations between two people ever witnessed within popular music history, leaving an indelible mark on all those who listen to it.

Popular Songs

The musical genius of Ashford & Simpson has resulted in some truly iconic songs. From the infectious ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ to their heartfelt duet on the classic ‘Solid (As A Rock)’, their music continues to touch listeners all over the world.

Their memorable hit single ‘Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)’ was an uplifting anthem dedicated to getting people to reach out for help during difficult times – something that resonates now more than ever. The duo also released a number of other upbeat dance-floor fillers such as ‘It Seems To Hang On’, ‘Street Corner’ and ‘Found A Cure’.

On the flip side, they could craft intimate ballads like no other. Songs such as ‘Is It Still Good To You?’ and ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’ spoke directly to the hearts of many fans who found solace in Ashford & Simpson’s lyrics and melodies.

With each track showcasing their incredible songwriting ability, it is clear why so many artists look up to them today – from contemporary pop stars taking inspiration from their work, to seasoned musicians looking back upon what made them great in the first place.

Songwriting Credits

Though their own recordings of songs remain some of the most beloved, Ashford & Simpson also wrote and produced music for others. Motown acts such as The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross all benefited from their songwriting skills. Similarly, they made a lasting contribution to soul/funk by writing hits like Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’.

The duo even had success on the country charts, with Willie Nelson recording their composition ‘Reunited’ in 1982. Additionally, many artists have covered the couple’s work over the years; Whitney Houston famously released her version of ‘It Seems To Hang On’ in 1981.

As well as this, Ashford & Simpson were responsible for penning one of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits – ‘State Of Shock’, which was recorded with Rolling Stone Mick Jagger. This goes to show that despite the genre differences between them, the pair could make any artist sound great.

From pop to R&B and beyond, it is clear that Ashford & Simpson left an indelible mark on popular music – making sure that their legacy continues long after they are gone.

Awards And Accolades

Ashford & Simpson’s influence on the music industry has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades. In 1985, they won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for their song ‘Solid’. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002, and received an honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2004.

In 2008, Ashford & Simpson were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame – becoming one of only two songwriting teams to receive this distinction. The duo was also given lifetime achievement awards from both ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers) and NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences).

These various honors are evidence of just how much respect these incredible talents have earned over the years. There is no doubt that Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson will continue to be remembered as some of the most successful soul/funk musicians ever.

Their songs remain timeless classics that capture elements of love, heartache, joy, loss – all effortlessly combined together to create classic tunes that people can’t help but sing along to. All who had the pleasure of hearing them live or listening to their records have truly experienced something special. It is clear that Ashford & Simpson left an indelible mark on popular music culture – ensuring their legacy lives on through new generations discovering their work every day.

Record Labels

Throughout their career, Ashford & Simpson have released records on various labels. In the early days of their partnership, they signed to MGM Records in 1965 and released several albums for them over the next few years. They then moved onto Buddah Records in 1970, where they produced a series of hits like ‘Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing’ and ‘Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand’.

In 1975, after some successful releases with Warner Brothers Records, Nickolas and Valerie established their own label called Sugar Daddy Productions. This gave them complete control over their recordings and allowed them to experiment more freely with different styles and genres. It also gave them an opportunity to showcase other artists that may not have been able to get exposure otherwise.

The duo continued releasing music through Sugar Daddy until it was sold off in 1983. After this point, they began working exclusively with Capitol Records – who provided distribution for all their future works up until 1991 when they retired from recording altogether.

Ashford & Simpson left behind a body of work that is both timeless and innovative – something that will be enjoyed by generations to come as new fans continue discovering what these incredible soul musicians had to offer.

Albums And Singles Discography

Throughout their career, Ashford & Simpson released a number of albums and singles that made them some of the most successful soul musicians in history. Here, we take a look at their discography and what each release means to fans today.

First up is 1965’s ‘I’ll Take Care Of You’, which was one of the first records from the duo. It set the tone for all future releases by showcasing their impeccable songwriting and production skills as well as Valerie’s outstanding vocal performance. This track has since become an anthem for lovers around the world who can identify with its passionate lyrics and romantic sentiments.

In 1975, they released their self-titled album on Sugar Daddy Productions. This record marked a shift in sound towards funkier grooves but still kept true to their roots in soul music. Standout tracks included ‘It Seems To Hang On’ – a slow-burner that became a fan favorite – and ‘Found A Cure’, which was nominated for several Grammy Awards during its time.

The final entry into the duo’s catalogue came in 1983 when they put out another self-titled LP on Capitol Records. The record featured more commercialized sounds than previous efforts – something which garnered mixed reviews from critics at the time – but it also produced two hits: ‘Solid As A Rock’ and ‘Love Don’t Make It Right’. Both songs have gone on to be staples of classic R&B radio stations even decades later, proving just how timeless Ashford & Simpson’s work truly is.

Their impressive back catalog continues to influence modern day artists who are looking to draw inspiration from old school soul music; making sure that Nickolas and Valerie will never be forgotten or overlooked again.

Live Performances

Ashford & Simpson were just as impressive when it came to their live performances, captivating audiences with an infectious energy and a passionate delivery that was all their own. Nickolas and Valerie would often take the stage together in matching outfits, creating an atmosphere of love and unity that fans couldn’t help but be swept up by. No matter what song they performed, the duo had a way of making each one sound better than ever before.

The couple was also known for engaging with their audience between songs, sharing stories about life on the road or anecdotes from behind-the-scenes of their recordings. This interaction only served to heighten the experience and make their shows even more memorable. In addition to performing all of their hits, Ashford & Simpson would often break out some lesser-known tunes like ‘It’s Your Move’ or ‘Don’t Cost You Nothing’. These tracks gave listeners something new while still staying true to the group’s signature soulful style.

In 1983, shortly after releasing their final album, Nickolas and Valerie embarked on a world tour which took them everywhere from Europe to Asia. The pair continued touring until 2001 whereupon they retired from active performance due to various health issues; however this did not stop them from continuing to record music remotely together over the years – much to the delight of long time fans. Even now, memories of these incredible concerts linger in people’s minds and hearts around the globe.

Though Ashford & Simpson may no longer be gracing us with epic live performances there is no doubt that their legacy will remain alive through both their timeless records and inspiring career path – always serving as a reminder of just how powerful music can truly be!

Music Videos

In addition to their live performances, Ashford & Simpson were also well known for their music videos. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the couple made several memorable clips that showcased not just their musical talent but also their on-screen chemistry. From ‘Solid’ to ‘Love Don’t Make It Right’, these classic visuals gave fans an up close and personal look at Nickolas and Valerie in action.

The duo was adept at using humour in their videos which added a unique element of fun to each one. The clip for ‘Found a Cure’ is a prime example of this; with its outrageous costumes and goofy dance moves, it quickly became a fan favourite! Similarly, the video for ‘It’s Your Move’ featured an eclectic range of characters including aliens and robots, creating an offbeat atmosphere that viewers couldn’t help but enjoy.

Not only did these videos bring joy to people around the world, they also highlighted important issues such as social injustice (‘Streets Of Love’) or addiction (‘Babies’). These messages were often delivered through clever symbolism or by directly addressing them in the lyrics themselves – making sure everyone understood what was being said loud and clear. In doing so, Ashford & Simpson proved why they remain icons today: utilising powerful artistry to spread positive change across generations.

Tv Appearances

Throughout their career, Ashford & Simpson were also known for their numerous television appearances. From late-night shows to award ceremonies and music specials, the couple graced many stages with their unique blend of soulful harmonies and magnetic chemistry.

One of the most memorable moments came in 1979 when they performed ‘It’s Your Move’ on the classic show Soul Train – an iconic appearance that has been immortalised through clips online. Another stand-out moment was in 1989 when they sang a duet version of ‘Found a Cure’ at The 30th Annual Grammy Awards; it went down as one of the best performances of the night.

In addition, Nickolas and Valerie were frequent guests on talk shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson or Late Night with David Letterman which allowed them to showcase both their musical talents and humourous banter. Moreover, they made several TV series guest spots over the years including Beverly Hills 90210, A Different World and more recently Empire.

No matter where they were appearing, Ashford & Simpson always managed to leave a lasting impression with audiences around the world thanks to their raw talent and undeniable charm. Their vibrant performances continue to be cherished by fans today – proof that no time will ever dull this dynamic duo’s sparkle!

Musical Legacy

Throughout their illustrious career, Ashford & Simpson have left an indelible mark on the music industry. Their signature blend of R&B and soul has become a genre staple, influencing countless artists over the years. From Michael Jackson to Mariah Carey and Beyoncé, many superstars have drawn inspiration from Nickolas and Valerie’s timeless hits.

Their impressive catalog includes some of the most iconic songs in music history like ‘Solid’, ‘Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing’ and ‘Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)’. Each one is bursting with vibrant energy and infectious melodies that are sure to stay stuck in your head for days – testament to the couple’s undeniable songwriting prowess.

The influence of Ashford & Simpson can also be seen in their numerous collaborations with other artists. Notable examples include Diana Ross’ smash hit ‘Endless Love’ which was co-written by Nickolas; Aretha Franklin’s chart-topping duet with George Michael called ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’ which was penned by Valerie; as well as Quincy Jones’ Grammy Award winning album Back On The Block featuring several tunes composed by both partners.

It’s clear that this legendary duo will continue to inspire generations through their unparalleled music legacy. To this day, they remain an integral part of popular culture – proving that true talent never fades!

Contemporary Influences

In recent years, Ashford & Simpson have seen a resurgence in their influence over the music industry. Many contemporary artists cite them as an inspiration for their work, including popular names like Alicia Keys and Ne-Yo. From soulful ballads to infectious dance tracks, these modern stars are taking cues from Nickolas and Valerie’s signature sound.

On top of that, various TV shows and films have featured the duo’s songs throughout the decades – paying homage to their timeless hits. This includes iconic movies such as The Big Chill (1983) which used ‘Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing’ in its soundtrack; while more recently La La Land (2016) included their classic track ‘Solid’ during one of its most memorable scenes.

It goes without saying that Ashford & Simpson remain major players in today’s musical landscape. Their distinct style is still being heard everywhere – proving just how influential they’ve been since the beginning of their career! Even though many years have passed since then, it looks like this legendary couple will continue to shape culture for years to come.

The impact of Ashford & Simpson on American music is undeniable – making sure that generations both past and present can enjoy their incredible works forevermore.

Notable Covers

The influence of Ashford & Simpson is also evident in the many covers that have been done of their songs. From soulful renditions by singers such as Aretha Franklin and Amy Winehouse, to funk-inspired versions from Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake – it’s clear these tracks can stand up to any interpretation. Even contemporary rap artists like Kanye West have sampled their works for some of their biggest hits!

This demonstrates just how much staying power Ashford & Simpson’s music has had over the years. Not only does it remain relevant today, but it also continues to inspire a new generation of fans who appreciate its timeless quality. It comes as no surprise then that so many people keep coming back to this classic duo when looking for fresh ideas or catchy melodies.

It’s safe to say that Nickolas and Valerie will continue being an inspiration for both future musicians and old-school fans alike; with countless covers paying homage to their unforgettable sound every day. Whether they’re performing live on stage or simply enjoying a listen at home – everyone can find something special in Ashford & Simpson’s legendary catalogue!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Instruments Did Ashford & Simpson Play?

When it comes to music, the duo of Ashford & Simpson have made a name for themselves. Known for their legendary soul and R&B tracks, they were also renowned for their skill with instruments. So what kind of instruments did this pair play?

Nickolas Ashford was an accomplished keyboardist, as well as being a vocalist and songwriter. His wife Valerie Simpson would often join him on keyboards in addition to her own talents as singer-songwriter. Together, they created beautiful harmonies both vocally and instrumentally.

The two could be seen playing various guitars throughout their career including electric guitar, bass guitar, banjo and even ukulele! Nickolas was known to occasionally take up the drums while Valerie played acoustic guitar. As skilled multi-instrumentalists, this couple had no problem when it came to switching between different sounds or creating unique musical ideas.

Ashford & Simpson were more than just singers; they were virtuosic musicians who brought together soulful vocals alongside powerful instrumental performances. Their combined creativity allowed them to create memorable hits that are still remembered today by fans all over the world.

What Is The Most Popular Ashford & Simpson Song?

Most people are familiar with the idea of a popular song. We all have our favorites, and it’s interesting to see which songs become true classics. But what is the most popular Ashford & Simpson song?

Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson were an American husband-and-wife songwriting/production team who created some of the biggest hits in R&B, soul, and pop music history. From “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”, their discography contains many beloved tunes that remain fan favorites today. So which one stands out among them as the top track from this remarkable duo?

It’s hard to narrow down such an impressive list of hits but according to Billboard Magazine, their most successful single was 1982’s “Solid”. It reached number five on the US Hot 100 chart and went on to be certified platinum for sales over 1 million copies in Canada. The catchy tune also topped both the US Dance Club Songs chart and UK Singles Chart – two significant achievements for any artist! Furthermore, its memorable chorus has been featured in numerous films and television shows over the years.

From its initial release until now, “Solid” remains one of Ashford & Simpson’s signature songs -a timeless classic that continues to attract fans young and old alike. With infectious beats, thought-provoking lyrics, and undeniable crossover appeal, it’s easy to understand why this track has stood the test of time.

What Other Artists Have Ashford & Simpson Collaborated With?

Collaborating with other artists is a great way to explore different musical styles, as well as forge relationships and create something unique. It’s no secret that Ashford & Simpson have been involved in some successful collaborations over the years, but who are some of the other musicians they’ve worked with?

Ashford & Simpson have collaborated with many high profile performers including Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross among others. They also wrote songs for both Chaka Khan’s solo career and her band Rufus. Other notable collaborations include Smokey Robinson, Stephanie Mills, Grover Washington Jr., The Pointer Sisters, Teddy Pendergrass and Natalie Cole.

The duo has even gone on to work with more contemporary artists such as Alicia Keys for whom they co-wrote “If I Ain’t Got You”. This collaboration was not only popular amongst fans but it also earned them two Grammy Award nominations. In addition to this they have written music for stars like Jennifer Hudson, John Legend and Jamie Foxx.

Their extensive list of collaborators makes clear their influence on modern music today; from soulful ballads to up-tempo pop songs – Ashford & Simpson have left an indelible mark on the charts throughout the decades.

When Did Ashford & Simpson First Start Working Together?

When did Ashford & Simpson first start working together? This is a question that has been asked by many music fans and critics alike. With their classic soulful sound and distinctive harmonies, there’s no doubt that the duo of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson have become one of the most iconic musical duos in history.

The pair began writing songs together in 1965 and released their debut single “Let’s Go Get Stoned” two years later. The song was an immediate hit, reaching number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Since then, they’ve had numerous hits throughout their career including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Solid,” and “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand.”

In addition to creating great music, Ashford & Simpson also wrote for other artists such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and others. They even collaborated with artists like Luther Vandross to create some stellar works of art.

Their success continued into the 1980s when they won both Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (for 1984’s “Solid”) as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from ASCAP in 2007. Clearly this dynamic duo has left an indelible mark on popular music with their timeless classics that still resonate with audiences today.

What Are Some Of The Awards Ashford & Simpson Have Won?

The work of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson is iconic in the music industry, as they have won numerous awards for their contributions. They are best known for writing and producing hit songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand).” But what awards have these two talented individuals received throughout their career?

Ashford & Simpson earned a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1981 with their track “It Seems To Hang On.” In 2007, they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. The duo also has several BMI Awards to their name, including an award for Most Performed Songs from 1974 to 1976 with “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” Additionally, Ashford & Simpson were honored by BET Networks in 2009 at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2018, the pair was recognized with both a Hollywood Walk Of Fame star and a Governor’s Arts Award from New York State for their commitment to creating art that transcends generations. Their achievements don’t end there; in 2019, Ashford & Simpson were given ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage awards which recognize songwriters who have made significant contributions to American culture through popular music.

These accolades only scratch the surface when it comes to recognizing all that this dynamic duo has accomplished during their over fifty-year collaboration. Clearly, Ashford & Simpson are living legends whose influence on modern music will never be forgotten.


In conclusion, Ashford & Simpson are a legendary husband and wife songwriting duo who have made an indelible mark on the music industry. They didn’t just write hit songs—they also played instruments like bass guitar and piano to bring their compositions to life. Their most famous single is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which has become an iconic soul classic. Over the years, they’ve collaborated with many other artists such as Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, and Liza Minnelli.

Ashford & Simpson first began working together in 1965 when Nickolas Ashford married Valerie Simpson. Since then, they’ve been nominated for six Grammy Awards and won two: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group for the song “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and Song of the Year for “Solid As A Rock.” We can only imagine how much more success this talented couple would have achieved had they continued creating music together throughout their career.

Overall, Ashford & Simpson will forever remain one of the greatest musical duos in history thanks to their timeless hits that continue to be enjoyed today. In fact, it’s safe to say that we still haven’t heard the last from them yet!

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