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Motown Hitmaker Nick Ashford Dies

Nick Ashford wrote the songs that made a whole lot of the world sing.

The Motown hitmaker, who along with wife Valerie Simpson was responsible for tunes like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "I'm Every Woman," died Monday at a New York City hospital after a bout with throat cancer. He was 70.

Ashford & Simpson—as they are referred to in the Songwriting Hall of Fame—met in 1963 at a church in Harlem and started writing songs together for a none-too-shabby list of up-and-comers such as Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.

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The couple joined Berry Gordy's Motown Records in 1966 and wrote a series of hits for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrelle, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing."

Over the years, Ashford and Simpson—who also recorded and performed together—also wrote for Gladys Knight & the Pips, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Chaka Khan, the Supremes and Diana Ross on her own.

A decade into their highly successful collaboration, Ashford and Simpson tied the knot in 1974 and cut the album Gimme Somethin' Real, as well as a succession of popular singles. Their biggest hit together, "Solid," was released in 1984.

Among their pile of hits, Ashford and Simpson have a songwriting credit on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black for "Tears Dry on Their Own," which is styled after "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Ashford is survived by his wife of nearly 37 years and their two daughters, Nicole and Asia.

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