Nick Ashford, Motown songwriter extraordinaire and former Willow Run resident, has died
Nick Ashford, who with his wife, Valerie Simpson, wrote mega-Motown hit after mega-Motown hit, died yesterday in Manhattan.
Ashford grew up in Willow Run, where he performed at the Willow Run Baptist Church. In 1996-1997, the Willow Run Community Schools included him in their first group of inductees into The Willow Run Hall of Fame.
Ashford attended Eastern Michigan University for awhile before moving to New York, where he fell on hard times. At 22, he met 17-year-old music student, Valerie Simpson, at the White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem, and thus music magic was ignited. The couple married in 1974.
Among their now-golden oldies hits are Ain't No Mountain High Enough, You're All I Need to Get By, Let's Get Stoned, and Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing,. Included in the star-studded roster of voices who performed their music are: Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan, and Whitney Houston. More recently, Ashford and Simpson were given credit on the late Amy Winehouse's Back to Black (2006) album for her Tears Dry on Their Own cut.
Ashford, who suffered from throat cancer, was 69.