Lamont Dozier, of Motown’s Celebrated Songwriting and Production Team, Dies

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Lamont Dozier, in the cover photo from his memoir

Lamont Dozier, the middle name in Motown’s celebrated songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, died yesterday (August 8, 2022). His passing at age 81, was announced by his son, Lamont Dozier, Jr. With his partners, the brothers Brian Holland and Eddie Holland, the legend crafted such classic songs as “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and dozens more. Just before midnight ET on Monday, Lamont Dozier, Jr. posted a photo of himself and his father with the simple caption, “R.I.H.P. Dad!!😢😢😢.” Neither the cause of death nor location was revealed.

The Holland-Dozier-Holland team’s songs paralleled the rise of Motown Records as a music powerhouse that crossed economical lines and bridged cultural barriers. According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in which they were inducted in 1988, of their more than 400 songs for such Motown stars as the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and the Four Tops, 70 were Top Ten Hits and more than 40 reached the number one position on the pop and/or R&B charts.

Dozier and Brian Holland served primarily as the team’s musical arrangers and producers. Eddie Holland was the main lyricist. Both brothers survive Dozier.

In 1964, “Where Did Our Love Go” became the first of ten #1 pop hits which Holland–Dozier–Holland wrote and produced for the Supremes.

Others included “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “The Happening,” “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone,” “My World Is Empty Without You,” and “Baby Love.”

Other classics from the team include “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” “Heat Wave,” “Baby Love,” “It’s the Same Old Song,” “Nowhere to Run,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There.”

In 1990, Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (by Diana Ross) and in 1998, they received the prestigious Grammy Trustees Award, a Special Merit Award presented by vote of the Recording Academy’s National Trustees to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording.

The Holland-Dozier-Holland relationship with Motown ultimately went south, and in 1968 the trio left amid lawsuits. Adam White, author of the excellent book, Motown: The Sound of Young America, wrote that the team “quit Motown amid charges of underpayment and under-appreciation,” adding that the label claimed that they “earned $2.2 million in salaries, bonuses and royalties, the equivalent of $18 million [in 2016].”

They went on to form their own Detroit-based Invictus and Hot Wax labels, scoring hits (under the pseudonym Edythe Wayne, along with songwriter Ron Dunbar) with Freda Payne (“Band of Gold”), Chairmen of the Board (“Give Me Just a Little More Time”) and the Honey Cone, among others.

Dozier was born in Detroit on June 16, 1941. He published his memoir, How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter’s Reflections on Music, Motown and the Mystery of the Muse, in 2019.

Related: Musicians that we’ve lost in 2022

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  1. Jas
    #1 Jas 21 August, 2022, 16:06

    So sad to hear of Lamont’s passing. Such an incredible talent. Your contributions to the world of soul and rhythm and blues will live on forever. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. RIP.

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