Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson were a husband-and-wife team who were both songwriters and performers. As songwriters, in addition to writing for themselves, they wrote songs that were performed by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Betty Everett, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, and others. They were inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2002, received The Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 1999, and ASCAP’s highest honor, The Founders Award, in 1996.
The first hit they had for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell was “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which reached #19 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in 1967. It was a bigger hit for Diana Ross and the Supremes, who took it to #1 on both charts in 1970. Here is the original.
As performers, their biggest hit was 1984’s “Solid,” which went to #12 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B charts that year.
Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, your Two for Tuesday, December 15, 2015.