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Ashford & Simpson: Behind A Painted Smile

Robin Katz, Sounds, 3 August 1974

'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', 'You're All I Need To Get By', 'Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing', and 'The Onion Song' were all hits for the last long standing black duet, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. But behind that singing twosome were another duet, that of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Between them they wrote and produced the kind of love songs that still leave imitators back in the dust.

In Part Two of this series on the people behind the scenes at Motown, ROBIN KATZ looks at the rise of Ashford and Simpson, their golden days in Detroit, the fight against Valerie Simpson's emergence as a solo artist, and what you'll be hearing from them in the weeks to come.

Total word count of piece: 2170

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