During last week I heard a local DJ mention that August 29th would have been Michael Jackson’s fifty-third birthday. A couple of celebrations are planned in his hometown of Gary, Indiana and other places in the US. Of course radio stations plan to play a lot of Michael Jackson songs and offer more words of love and gratitude for all the great music he gave us and rightly so. Jackson was an unprecedented musical talent and even that may be an understatement. However, last week the musical world lost another giant in Nick Ashford. He definitely was considered a legendary songwriter over a fifty year span. Ashford, with wife and writing partner Valerie Simpson, wrote some of the more memorable songs of the Motown era. Think of “Aint no Mountain High Enough“, “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand“, “I’m Every Woman” and too many more to name. What makes their songs really stand out is their timelessness: the fact that many different performers sang them over the decades. We are still hearing Ashford and Simpson songs played often on radio, TV and motion pictures. The duo even enjoyed success performing some of their songs as well like “Solid As a Rock“, “Found A Cure” and several more. Nick Ashford did not have the star power of Michael Jackson. No, his was the life of an extremely successful songwriter. What I would call a kind of quiet fame. Still, most musicians had monumental respect for Ashford because of the talent level and the mass library of music he and wife have given us. Many of us in the music world will miss Ashford dearly, but the quiet legend’s music will live on forever.