Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jerry Leiber, Nick Ashford

by Dick Mac

Jerry Leiber was half of the song-writing duo Leiber and Stoller who wrote many hits for many big names, and were influential in the development and marketing of the girl group sound.

They gave Phil Spector one of his first jobs, they unleashed The Shangri-Las and they wrote "Hound Dog," "Yakety Yak," "On Broadway," "Jailhouse Rock,"
"Love Potion No. 9," "Spanish Harlem," "Poison Ivy," "Charlie Brown," and "Stand By Me."

Although their fame diminished as the sixties progressed, they produced one final smash hit, "Stuck In The Middle," by Stealers Wheel.

Nick Ashford was half of the duo Ashford & Simpson, which teamed him with his wife, Valerie Simpson. They had two separate and distinct careers: first as song-writers and producers, and then as performers.

They wrote hit songs for The 5th Dimension, Ray Charles, and Diana Ross. In the mid-1960s they were signed by Motown where they wrote and produced almost all of the hits for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

The list of artists with whom they worked and for whom they wrote is impressive and reads like the Who's Who of American Soul music.

In 1984 they had their biggest hit as performers with "Solid."

August 22, 2011 was a bad day for song-writing:

Jerry Leiber, 78, died in Los Angeles from cardio-pulmonary failure
Nick Ashford, 69, died in New York of complications from throat cancer

The world is lesser for it.

Nick Ashford, of Motown Writing Duo, Dies at 70

Ashford & Simpson at wikipedia

Jerry Leiber, Prolific Writer of 1950s Hits, Dies at 78

Leiber and Stoller site

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

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