August 23, 2011 by The ReadyWriter
The Motown legend had been undergoing radiation treatments for throat cancer, he was 69.
Ashford and Simpson wrote Motown’s two favorite “Ain’t” songs, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” along with “You’re All I Need To Get By.”
The couple also had a long singing career, scoring their biggest chart hit in 1984 with “Solid (As a Rock)” and later settling into a long run at clubs and cabarets. The couple also owned several restaurants and clubs, including the 20/20 on W. 20th St. and the Sugar Bar on W. 72nd St.
Ashford, a tall pretty dark man whose signature hair was long and well done, was known as a gentle presence in the music business and rumored to be gay. Besides songwriting, they also produced most of Diana Ross’s first three solo albums and worked with artists that included Teddy Pendergrass, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and Chaka Khan.
Ashford also had a few acting roles, and I remember him best as Rev. Oates in “New Jack City.”
Ashford is survived by his wife Valerie and their two daughters.