According to news reports, Nicholas Ashford of Ashford and Simpson passed away yesterday here in New York.
Ashford, who was born in South Carolina grew up in Michigan. He moved to New York City in the early 1960s and met his future wife, Valerie Simpson in Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church. They began collaborating musically with Ashford writing most of the lyrics, Simpson composing. They also recorded together. But it’s their work as songwriters for performers such as Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and others that made them legendary. They also received writing credit on Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own.”
They also co-owned the Sugar Bar where live performances are a big part of the menu.