The passing of two song-writing icons

I can’t say I recall hearing the names Nick Ashford or Jerry Leiber before seeing their respective obituaries this week, but I certainly recognized many of the songs they independently wrote. Working his co-composer and then wife, Valerie Simpson, Ashford’s songs include Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Your Precious Love, and Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing. Jerry Leiber never married his collaborator, Mike Stoller, but they still produced some rock classics including Hound Dog, Yakety Yak, Stand By Me and On Broadway. Shown below are Ashford and Simpson performing Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and then Big Mama Thornton singing Hound Dog (apparently Leiber and Stoller wrote the song for her and it was only later performed by Elvis whose rendition was not the song writers’ favorite version):