Ashford & Simpson had a solid resumé. After co-writing Ray Charles' number one R&B/number 31 pop hit "Let's Get Stoned," the couple began a hit-filled stint at Motown as staff songwriters/producers working with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross, among others. Though they recorded three albums among them (the critically acclaimed Valerie Simpson and the unissued Nick and Val), the duo felt in order to lose the songwriter/producer tag and become recording artists, they'd have to leave Motown. Signing with Warner Bros. in 1973, the couple had 22 R&B hit singles, three gold LPs -- Send It, Is It Still Good to Ya, and Stay Free -- and hits with labelmate Chaka Khan: "I'm Every Woman" (later covered by Whitney Houston) and "Clouds." In the 1980s, Ashford & Simpson signed with Capital Records. Their biggest hit came after Nick Ashford picked up on a slang term while walking the streets of New York. Returning home, he made the suggestion that he and his wife write a song based around "solid."
The recording sessions were held in New York at 39th St. Music and at Blank Tapes. On hand was Valerie Simpson on synths, drummer Chris Parker, bassist Francisco Centeno, percussionist Jimmy Simpson, guitarist Sid McGinnis, and horn players Joe Mosello and Vinnie Della-Rocca. The background vocals were handled by Valerie's brother Ray Simpson and Ullanda McCullough. The finished track was the mixed by Francois Kevorkian and Ron St. Germain with Kevorkian splicing on an a cappella intro taken from the middle verse. Many perceived that "Solid" was about Ashford & Simpson's enduring marriage, which may have helped to sell the song. "Solid" stayed at number one R&B for two weeks and made it to number 12 pop in late 1984. The Solid album parked at number one R&B for four weeks and peaked at number 29 pop and included the singles "Outta the World" and "Babies."